The budget legislation proposes increasing US Army personnel to 476,000, from 460,000 currently, in fiscal 2017, which began October 1. Marine Corps personnel would edge up to 185,000 from 182,000, with officer ranks to be cut by about 12 percent; the Navy would maintain active-duty levels at 324,000; and the Air Force would add 4,000, bringing its total to 321,000.
Negotiators in the Senate and the House of Representatives, known as conferees, agreed not to buy additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets or AH-64 Apache helicopters, in line with President Barack Obama’s initial budget request.
The F-35 Joint Program Office, the US Navy’s Ford-class carrier program, and the contract for the Air Force’s B-21 bomber remain intact.
The defense-budget bill is set for a vote in the House on Friday with Senate action scheduled next week.