The US Army is to reduce the size of its force by 40,000 soldiers over the next two years, according to US media.

The cost-cutting exercise will also see an additional 17,000 civilian employees cut from the army.

According to BBC News, the plan, which could be officially announced later this week, would see the US troop level drop to about 450,000 soldiers by the end of 2017.

The planned army staffing levels would be the lowest since 1940, a year before the US entered World War Two, when it employed about 270,000 active-duty soldiers.

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