US soldiers departing from Iraq. (file photo)
The United States Defense Department may have to force soldiers, Marines or other members of the military out of the services to meet spending reductions in its budget proposal.
According to the proposed budget plan presented to the US congress, the Pentagon plans to cut 67,100 soldiers from active and reserve Army units and the Army National Guard, as well as 15,200 from the active and reserve ranks of the Marine Corps.
Travis Sharp, a member of the Center for a New American Security, who attended a Pentagon briefing for analysts, last month, says the US military will first try buying out contracts or offering bonuses for people to leave.
“What they told us is that they will try to use those types of positive incentives to the greatest extent possible, but that involuntary separations would probably still be necessary,” Sharp said.
“You are kicking people out of the military at a time when unemployment is not only a major challenge, it is also a primary factor in the upcoming presidential election,” he added.
Pentagon has backed the US President Barack Obama's military spending plan, which features a shift in strategic focus to the Asia Pacific region. The US Navy and Air Force would lose fewer people, 8,600 and 1,700 respectively, because of their role in the strategic shift.
The US Congress requires the Pentagon to cut 487 billion dollars from the defense budget over the next 10 years, 259 billion dollars will be cut in the first five years (2013 to 2018).