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U.S. Budget Woes Hit Military Readiness

U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno
U.S. General Ray Odierno, U.S. Army chief of staff, has said that budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty in the United States have led to sharp reductions in army training.

In comments on October 21 at a conference of the Association of the U.S. Army, Odierno said currently only two brigades of troops are fully trained and combat ready.

"We had to stop training, basically, in the last six months of the [fiscal] year," Odierno said.

A combat brigade has between 3,500 and 5,000 troops. The U.S. Army currently has some 570,000 uniformed personnel.

Under current plans approved by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during the summer, that figure could be reduced as low as 420,000.

Odierno also said budget woes are affecting equipment purchases and the army currently needs a new armored fighting vehicle and new helicopters.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP