US Army cuts 3,000 special forces positions as it shifts focus away from counterterrorism

The Army said it "is not asking current soldiers to leave," but it is shifting its focus away from counterterrorism.

Published: February 28, 2024 10:42am

Updated: February 28, 2024 2:03pm

The U.S. Army said it is reducing its special operations forces by about 3,000 positions, amid major cuts across the entire military branch as it addresses its recruiting shortfalls and shifts away from counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts to focus on more technologically sophisticated battles.

The Army said Tuesday it needed to identify about 32,000 positions to cut, but because it also added 7,500 positions, the total reductions that will be made are around 24,000 positions, or about 5% of its current force.

The planned reductions will only affect spaces, not individual soldiers. "The Army is not asking current soldiers to leave," the Army said. 

The Army's special operations forces, which have doubled in size over the past two decades, could see about 3,000 positions cut, with vacant and difficult-to-fill slots being prioritized to ax.  

"Implementing these force structure changes represents a significant shift for the Army, moving the Army away from counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations to a focus on large scale combat operations against highly sophisticated adversaries," the Army said.

Rather than recruiting people with only a high school degree, the Army's new goal is for one-third of new recruits to have "college or some college" experience by 2028.

"Because of the recruiting challenges, our end strength has decreased notably and we did not want to have a lot of hollow structure hanging around," Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said, per Defense One.

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