LAWTON, Okla._The U.S. Army announced Thursday it is reducing active duty forces over the next two years.
The reduction of 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilians are expected to affect nearly every Army post in some way.
Officials say the cuts will actually increase the number of troops at Fort Sill. The post is expected to gain 219 spaces as the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery and the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery will join the 31st ADA and 75th FA brigades, respectively. The additional soldiers are scheduled to be in place by October 2017.
"We are happy the Army recognized what we have to offer the country here in the Lawton-Fort Sill community," said Joe Gallagher, Deputy to the Commanding General, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill. "Adding both an air defense and field artillery battalion will help Fort Sill continue to lead the future of Fires for the Army into the 21st century," he said.
As a whole, the Army will also reduce about 17,000 civilians from their positions. The Obama administration has promised to scale the Army back to its lowest troop level since World War II.
"I am disappointed we did not prioritize sustaining the size of our military force structure, particularly our Army. The threats we face are outpacing our ability to deter and confront them as a result of the massive cuts associated with sequestration. I believe we are sacrificing too much capability at a time when we should be maintaining our current structure and capabilities in these uncertain times. We have been wrong in the past when it comes to assumptions regarding the size of our forces and the capabilities required to protect this country. Despite the increased funding in this bill due to OCO, we are on the road to repeat the same mistakes that will take years to fix," Senator Jim Inhofe said in a statement.
"We live in an increasingly dangerous world. Deep cuts to our military shows incredible disrespect for the selfless sacrifice of those who volunteered to wear the uniform. In the days ahead, I will continue to work to support our service members in Oklahoma and across this great nation, ensuring they have the resources they need to successfully defend the America we love," said Representative Tom Cole.
This is still a big step away from the 2013 announcement of an 80,000 troop cut.