Bruce joined the Black Cats after a spell at Wigan and began making rapid changes immediately. They culminated at the end of the transfer window with the signings of Michael Turner from Hull and Ghanian captain John Mensah on loan from Lyon.
Going the other way, most recently, have been Teemu Tanio and stand-in captain Danny Collins. Sunderland's new skipper is the Albanian Lorik Cana, who only arrived in the summer from Marseille.
Bruce has moved on plenty of others but his overriding belief is that dramatic changes were required.
"If I am honest there were so many changes to be made I that thought 'is it too quick?', 'is it too many?'," he told the Sunderland Echo.
"But then I thought 'here is a chance to trim the squad which I thought was far too big."
Ins and outsBruce has also sold Dean Whitehead, Greg Halford, Michael Chopra, Carlos Edwards, Grant Leadbitter and Paul McShane.
The other significant arrivals have been Darren Bent from Spurs, Lee Cattermole from Wigan and Fraizer Campbell from Manchester United.
Bruce added: "I started with addressing the spine of the team where I think I have added strength and depth.
"I think with the players we've brought in we're in a far healthier situation than we were 12 months ago.
"Certainly the additions of John Mensah and Michael Turner in particular will give us that."