Report: Bases could face downsizing as Army reshapes to smaller force
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 22, 2013
STUTTGART, Germany — Numerous Army installations across the U.S. could face significant downsizing in the coming years as the service reshapes into a smaller force, but for now the possibility of more troop reductions overseas has “been eliminated from further review,” according to an Army report.
In the Army’s Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment, the impact for overseas installations was not included in the analysis, which instead focused on 21 U.S. facilities. However, the report noted that any additional reductions overseas would not offset the demand for more downsizing in the U.S.
“In January, 2012, the U.S. Army announced major force reductions in Europe and other overseas locations that will occur by 2015,” the Army realignment report, released on Friday, stated. “Further reductions are, therefore, not being considered as a viable alternative for the realignment of Army forces as it would preclude the ability of U.S. forces to meet critical overseas mission requirements.”
Instead, the study evaluated the effects, including economic repercussions, on Army communities as the service works on cost-saving plans that involve significant reductions in the force.
Potential installation adjustments at the Army’s largest U.S. posts range from maximum reductions of 8,000 military personnel to maximum increases of 3,000, according to the Army. The impact on local communities could include job losses and a reduction in income levels and regional populations.
The Army’s study looked at ways to realign major Army posts based on a plan to reduce the Army’s active-duty end strength from 562,000 to 490,000 by fiscal 2020.
The assessment focused on two primary alternatives:
- Inactivate a minimum of eight brigade combat teams and realign other combat, combat support and service support units between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2020.
- Implement the above plan and reorganize the remaining BCTs by adding a combat maneuver battalion and other units.
“These actions are being undertaken to reshape the Army’s forces to meet more effectively national security requirements while reducing the Army’s end-strength,” the Army said in a news release that accompanied the report. “Force realignment and some level of force reduction will impact most major Army installations. ”
Plans continue to be reviewed and no final decision has been made on which alternative should be implemented, according to the Army. “The specific locations where changes will occur have not been decided,” the Army stated in its news release.
The sites included in the Army realignment study were: Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Irwin, Calif; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Lee, Va.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Polk, La.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii; and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
The honor guard and soldiers of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, stand on the parade grounds at Fort Bragg during a change of command ceremony in July. A recently released Army study looked at ways to realign major Army posts in the United States based on a plan to reduce the Army's active duty end-strength from 562,000 to 490,000 by Fiscal Year 2020.
KISSTA DIGREGORIO/U.S. ARMY