Budget squeeze: 110,000 soldiers could get the ax

The Army could lose 110,000 soldiers — nearly one in four on active duty — as well as new gear and weaponry as the Defense Department makes sweeping cuts to balance its budget.

Army leadership recently settled on an active-to-reserve ratio in which the reserve forces will comprise roughly 52 percent of the active force. If that ratio is employed, the reserves could drop from 555,000 to as low as 410,000 troops.

Personnel costs cover more than half of the Pentagon budget, and are off limits when cuts are made. Cuts to end strength save money but are limited by Congress. That means the bulk comes out of the training and equipping of forces.

Find out more in the Aug. 12 issue of Army Times, on sale now.

New helmet headed to Afghanistan soon

Soldiers in Afghanistan will be the first to get the new Enhanced Combat Helmet, a next-generation bucket rated to stop high-velocity rifle rounds at point-blank range.

“The ECH is intended for soldiers deploying to Afghanistan where the need is deemed most critical,” said Russell Petcoff, PEO Soldier Strategic Communications. “At this time, PEO Soldier only intends to procure one year’s worth of helmets. Should deploying force requirements change or increase, PEO Soldier retains significant contract flexibility allowing for increased procurements of the ECH.”

Details on who gets it and when in this week’s Army Times.

Personal ads from war zone put troops in trouble

Investigators in Afghanistan are tracking service members who are hooking up in the war zone via Internet sites such as Craigslist and busting those who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

In Afghanistan, where commanders have forbidden any sexual encounters between unwed people, virtually anyone who tries to set up a meeting online can become a target of investigators.

One Marine lance corporal found that out last year after he posted an ad on Craigslist for a sexual rendezvous. The guy he met on Camp Leatherneck, whom he thought was a fellow Marine, was an undercover Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent.

With the advent of Internet personal ads and social media sites, arranging a sexual encounter can become brazen, public and risky. Warnings from commanders, standard guidance for any unit headed to the war zone, appear to have fallen on deaf ears in many cases.

Read all about the crackdown in the latest Army Times.

Military Times PT365

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