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To meet Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ objectives, the Army has identified $29 billion in savings over the next five years that will allow the service to preserve its force structure in the near term. After 2013 the Army will begin to reduce the size of its active-duty force by 27,000 troops.  Until then, it will be able to maintain a force larger than 547,000.  Under Gate’s plan the Army will cut 13,500 Soldiers in 2015 and another 13,500 in 2016 and end up with and end strength of 520,400.  To maintain this size and to accelerate the fielding of items needed in Afghanistan, the Army made funding cuts and identified redundancies in other areas.  In addition to maintaining force structure through 2015, the Army plans to invest its savings in improved suicide prevention and substance abuse counseling for Soldiers.  AUSA’s President Gen. Gordon Sullivan is alarmed at the proposed troop cuts and feels the Army and its three components must remain near its total operational end strength of approximately 700,000.