Army needs up to 74,000 more troops, according to Chief of Staff

Gen. Mark Milley, US Army Chief of Staff (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley informed congress that he would need about 74,000 additional soldiers over the next decade to deal with the increasing demands pressed upon the Army- not including additional National Guard and Reserve troops.

In a June 7 meeting with the Senate Appropriations Committee, Milley said he would like an additional 74,000 active duty troops, noting that the National Guard should add an additional 12,000 and 10,000 for the Reserves.

South Carolinian Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he believed the demands of the Army will only increase over the next ten years.

“How big should the Army be in the next decade Gen. Milley?” Graham asked.

“My guess is somewhere for the regular Army is somewhere in and around the 540,000-550,000 range,” Milley said. “For the National Guard, I’d like to see them in the 350,000-355,000 range and for the Reserves somewhere around the 205,000-209,000 range.”

While the $116 billion budget for FY2018 continues to support the demands mandated in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the numbers do appear overwhelming to the casual observer- it is only about 10% larger than the recent FY17 spending plan.

According to Milley, Defense Secretary James “Chaos” Mattis is currently leading a review to determine the future capabilities and size of the military.

At Graham’s request, Milley also stressed the importance of federal agencies to play a role in US defense.

“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.”

According to Military.com, Graham sees increase of defense spending at the cost of domestic agencies as a “problem.”

“I appreciate the increase in defense, but the cuts … are real and they will affect our ability to defend the nation too,” Graham said.

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