WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say the Army plans to slash its number of combat brigades from 45 to as low as 32, and broadly restructure its fighting force as part of the effort to cut the size of the service by about 80,000 soldiers.

Officials say the sweeping changes probably will increase the size of each combat brigade, generally by adding another battalion. Doing that would ensure the brigades have the capabilities they need to go to war. A brigade usually is about 3,500 soldiers, and a battalion usually is between 600-800 soldiers.

The cuts come as the Pentagon completes its 2013 fiscal year budget, which must reflect about $260 billion in savings over five years. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not yet been made public.


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