US Army Needs 74,000 More Soldiers Over Next Decade - Chief of Staff
US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has notified Congress that the service needs to boost its active forces by up to 74,000 more troops over the next 10 years to tackle the increasing demands on the operational force.
The National Guard should also be enhanced by up to 12,000 soldiers, and some 10,000 should be added to the Reserves, Milley said in a June 7 meeting with the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"For the regular Army, it's somewhere in and around the 540,000 to 550,000 range," he told South Carolinian Republican Senator Lindsey Graham when asked how big he believes the Army should be in the next decade.
"For the National Guard, I'd like to see them in the 350,000 to 355,000 range and for the Reserves somewhere around the 205,000 to 209,000 range."
The Army's $166 billion budget request for FY 2018 may seem overwhelming, but it's in fact only about 10 percent larger than the recently enacted FY 2017 spending plan.
According to Milley, Defense Secretary James Mattis is currently leading a strategic review to determine the future size and capabilities of America's military.
While lawmakers say a significant increase in funding for the Army is only possible through substantial cuts to several US domestic agencies, including the State Department, Milley claims it would be a mistake to neglect those federal agencies' importance.
"We have to use not only the military forces, but we need the State Department, the CIA, the FBI," Milley said.
"Those all participate in various capacities, so it's important to have a whole-of-government approach to the conduct of war."
In January, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to launch what he called a "great rebuilding of the Armed Forces," living up to his campaign pledges.