(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

U.S. Army shrinks to its lowest numbers since before World War II

The Army Times reported  that March's total was 479,172 soldiers, the lowest number since before World War II, when there were nearly 270,000 troops.

Roughly 2,600 soldiers left active-duty status in March, and there are more cuts to come.

The shrinking numbers are part of the Army's plan, announced last July, to reduce the number of soldiers by 40,000 and civilian jobs by 17,000 by 2018

"We've been decreasing the size of the Army starting in about 2011,"  Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told CNN. "But now it's gathering attention because it's affecting employment and the civilians' communities around these bases."

The reductions come after U.S. conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have died down.

The U.S. has also been reluctant to put boots on the ground for other conflicts in Syria and in the fight against ISIS. 

At roughly 1.3 million active personnel, the U.S. military remains one of the largest in the world behind China's nearly 2.3 million members.

U.S. military spending outdoes China's by nearly 3 to 1

This video includes clips from the U.S. Army and U.S. Department of Defense

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