"The House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2017 authorized differing levels for active duty personnel in each of the services, but these authorizations diverge most significantly with respect to the Army. The Senate version of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act approved Army end strength of 460,000 soldiers, while the House version approved an Army end strength of 480,000. The Senate figure represents a decrease of 15,000 soldiers in comparison to the Army's FY2016 end strength of 475,000, while the House figure represents an increase of 5,000. […] In addition to the decision for FY2017, the debate about the size of the Army may well continue into the next Congress, as the Department of Defense plans further reductions in the size of the Army, proposing FY2018 end strength of 450,000. There will be also be a new President in January, and his or her policy priorities may revise the contours of this debate. This report provides an overview of active duty Army personnel strength changes in recent years, outlines the different end strength authorizations in the House and Senate versions of the FY2017 NDAA, highlights the perspectives which have contributed to these diverging approaches in the respective NDAAs, and outlines some factors which Congress may consider as it determines the appropriate size for the Army."
CRS Report for Congress, R44612
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html