Army cuts number of troops trained at Fort Benning, Georgia

Fort Benning will train 35,000 fewer troops in the 2012 fiscal year than it did in 2011, according to revised projections as troops return from Iraq.

The post will train 96,000 soldiers this fiscal year -- which began Oct. 1, 2011, and ends Sept. 30 -- compared to 131,000 for fiscal year 2011.

That revised number is dramatically lower than previous projections, said Gary A. Jones, director of public affairs for the Maneuver Center of Excellence.

“We previously projected our fiscal year 2011 number of personnel to be trained at about 145,000,” he said. “However, the Army’s announced personnel draw down and the departure of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 have affected training requirements across the Army.”

The news comes two weeks after the president announced plans to cut $487 billion from the defense budget over the next decade.

The new training numbers indicate the Army is becoming smaller, said retired Col. Gary Jones, who retired as garrison commander at Fort Benning in 1993 and is vice president of economic development and military affairs at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

“This is clearly an indicator that the military must be doing some advance planning to become smaller,” he said. “Those numbers are an indicator of things that are just starting to fall in place.”

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