The number of active-duty soldiers in the Army is the lowest its been since before World War II. The Army Times reports that the number of soldiers on active duty for March was 479,172 which is the smallest active-duty force since 1940 – the year before the U.S. entered World War II. At that time there were just 269,023 soldiers on active duty. The current force is also 154 soldiers less than the post-Cold War drawdown in 1999.
The Army is currently in the process of drawing back its active duty numbers, with a goal of reducing its numbers to 475,000 by September. In the past year, the active force has been reduced by more than 16,500 troops which is the equivalent of three brigades. The drawdown plan was unveiled last July, with the ultimate goal of reducing numbers to just 450,000 by the end of the fiscal year in 2018. READ MORE