Fort Benning commander: It's a risk to continue slashing Army troop strength to rumored 420,000

Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster, known for his outspoken opinions, kicked off his address at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum Tuesday by mentioning apparent rumors that the Army could be slashed to 420,000 troops.

That would cut an additional 70,000 soldiers from the ranks, down from the current target of 490,000, which already is 80,000 fewer than the 570,000 on duty during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This will be the smallest Army we’ve had since 1939," McMaster said of the post-war possibility of more cuts on the table. "I think it’s a risk considering what’s taking place around the world."

McMaster, commander of Fort Benning, remarked that the American public gets the "Army you're willing to pay for."

The U.S. military, due to sequestration, has been cutting expenses and using civilian employee furloughs to eliminate billions of dollars from its budget.