US Army shrinks to smallest level since before World War II

US Army shrinks to smallest level since before World War II. Endstrength for March was 479,172 soldiers, which is 154 fewer troopers than were on active duty when the Army halted the post-Cold War drawdown in 1999 with 479,424 soldiers, the smallest force since 1940, when the active component numbered 269,023 soldiers.

RELATED: Fact Check: Has President Obama ‘Depleted’ The Military? Short answer: It’s complicated, but spending is down; the force is smaller than when Obama took office and its equipment is aging.

“By nearly every measure of force structure — the number of brigades, aircraft, ships and subs, Marine battalions, and end strength, [today’s force] is smaller than when the [post-9/11] buildup began,” wrote budget expert Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Yet this smaller force consumes a budget more than 50 percent larger in real terms than before 9/11. The military is spending more on a smaller force.” …

“Pilots are flying B-52s in combat missions today which are older than most people in this room,” Trump said — which is true. The newest bomber in the fleet entered service in 1962, and the Air Force plans to keep its Eisenhower-era aircraft in service through 2040 if possible.

The Air Force has 12 entire fleets of aircraft that qualify for antique license plates in Virginia, chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh says.