Washington, Dec 30 (IANS/EFE) The US armed forces have begun thinning the ranks of generals and admirals with the aim of bringing the number of senior officers back down to the level of before the Sep 11, 2001, terror attacks, The Washington Post said.
The move coincides with the US withdrawal from Iraq and the beginning of a planned drawdown in Afghanistan.
Since March, according to the Post, the Pentagon has abolished 27 positions for generals and admirals in the first such ‘reduction since the aftermath of the Cold War, when the collapse of the Soviet Union prompted the military to downsize’.
The goal is to reduce the number of senior officers by 10 percent, ‘restoring them to their size when the country was last at peace’, the newspaper said.
Before stepping down earlier this year, then defense secretary Robert Gates approved reducing from 952 to 850 the number of positions reserved for generals and admirals.
Forty-seven of the 102 jobs set for elimination are command positions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other operations abroad.
‘The changes are projected to save only a modest amount of money, but defense officials said they are symbolically important as the Pentagon adjusts to an era of austerity,’ according to the Washington Post story.
President Barack Obama’s administration has proposed trimming projected increases in defense spending by $450 billion over the next 10 years.