The United States Army has revealed its decision to reduce its force by a significant 24,000 personnel as it faces challenges in recruitment. This reduction is a key component of a comprehensive restructuring strategy aimed at enhancing the military’s readiness for future conflicts. As outlined in an Army publication released on Tuesday, the 5% decrease in positions will primarily impact vacant roles rather than active-duty soldiers.

“The Army is not asking current soldiers to leave,” the document states.

“As the Army builds back-end strength over the next few years, most installations will likely see an increase in the number of soldiers actually stationed there.”

The majority of the positions being eliminated are those related to counter-insurgency roles that expanded during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but are no longer in high demand. Approximately 10,000 positions will be cut from cavalry squadrons, Stryker brigade combat teams, infantry brigade combat teams, and security force assistance brigades, which are responsible for training foreign troops. The Army is currently deemed to be excessively structured, as indicated in the document.

There is a shortage of soldiers to fill the existing units, prompting the need for optimization for large-scale or multidomain combat operations. This shift marks a departure from the previous focus on close combat and counter-insurgency. The Army is currently organized to accommodate up to 494,000 soldiers, yet the active duty force consists of around 445,000 soldiers.

Instead of filling all vacant positions, the Army is aiming to eliminate a significant number of them. The new strategy involves Army leaders striving to recruit sufficient troops by Fiscal Year 2029 to achieve a target of 470,000 active-duty soldiers.

The Army plans to increase its personnel by 7,500 troops for crucial missions, focusing on air defense, counter-drone units, and establishing five new task forces worldwide with advanced cyber, intelligence, and long-range strike capabilities.

In 2023, the U.S. military fell short of its recruitment targets by 41,000 individuals. This shortfall led to a recruitment crisis at the beginning of the new year, as highlighted by a Pentagon official in December.

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing in December, military leaders discussed the challenges faced in recruitment, attributing the difficulties to a competitive job market, decreasing eligibility, and the impact of COVID-19 school closures, among other factors.