A U.S. Army sapper clears the road in advance of a dismounted patrol near Combat Outpost Terra Nova in the Arghandab Valley

Lawmakers bash U.S. Army plan to cut 57,000 troops and civilians

A U.S. Army sapper clears the road in advance of a dismounted patrol near Combat Outpost Terra Nova in the Arghandab ValleyBy David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers on Wednesday sharply criticized long-announced U.S. Army plans to cut nearly 60,000 soldiers and civilian personnel due to tight budgets, warning it was risky and short-sighted at a time of Middle East conflict and rising tensions with Russia. Senator John McCain, the Republican head of the Armed Services Committee, called the decision to cut 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilian personnel “another dangerous consequence of budget-driven strategy” pursued by President Barack Obama. Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush told veterans in Hudson, New Hampshire, that the United States “can’t lead without a strong military” and pursuit of the planned cuts would leave the country with “the smallest Army that we’ve had since the start of World War Two.” The cuts would reduce the active-duty Army from about 490,000 soldiers to about 450,000.

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