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If the Army has to drop to 420,000, you can expect the involuntary separations of enlisted and officers to continue.
Maj. Gen. Gary Cheek, the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations (G-3) explains that the Army can be divided into three parts:
1. The operational force.
2. The generating force, which trains soldiers for the operational force. These are the fresh soldiers starting their careers as well as those attending the various Army schools and courses.
3. Everyone else: those enrolled in additional training or moving to new duty stations. These are referred to as trainees, transients, holdees and students, or TTHS.
“One of the things that we are finding is we cannot reduce our generating force on the same ramp as our operating force,” Cheek said. “There’s a floor. No matter how small the Army gets, it’s still going to require a generating force of pretty much the same size.”
Of all the services, the Army’s generating force, at 18 percent, actually makes up the smallest percentage of the overall force, he said. There are currently about 88,000 soldiers in the generating force, at places such as schoolhouses, combat training centers and basic training.
In addition, the TTHS force makes up about 13 percent of the Army.
That leaves an operational force of 300,000 to 325,000 soldiers to cut from.
“This is why our Chief says it’s unacceptable risk to go to 420,000,” Cheek said.