With only six installations slated to lose more than 1,000 soldiers as a result of the Army’s latest round of restructuring, many of the 30 communities bracing for severe cuts in personnel were greatly relieved that local installations would suffer a reduction of no more than 400 military personnel.
“Today’s announcement could have been much worse, in light of the president’s plan to reduce our military end strength by 40,000 troops,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said last week after the Army announced that Fort Polk would lose 388 soldiers.
“Retaining the 3/10 Brigade at Fort Polk is a win for Louisiana in the midst of devastating cuts by President Obama. While Fort Polk will be losing almost 400 soldiers, the cuts could have been in the thousands, mirroring the impact to other bases around the country,” Fleming said.
Fleming’s comments were echoed by other communities that eluded the dramatic cuts the Army projected as worst case scenarios for this second round of restructuring over the past two years.
“I could not be more pleased with the news,” Montgomery County, Tenn., Mayor Jim Durrett said after learning that Fort Campbell, which straddles Western Kentucky and Tennessee, would lose 353 soldiers.
“We hate to lose any troops from Fort Campbell, but with the looming question of a potential reduction of thousands, taken down to around 350 active duty over a two-year period, the impact to our base and our county will be minimal,” Durrett said, reported the Courier-Journal.
Even more surprised were the four communities that learned they would enjoy slight gains in personnel. Fort Gordon, Ga., will gain 41 soldiers and Fort Meade, Md., will gain 99 related to the growth of cyber capabilities. Fort Sill, Okla., will grow by 219 personnel, although those gains stem from decisions made in 2013.
Fort Knox, Ky., will pick up 67 soldiers over the next two years due to the combination of two moves. The post will become the new home of 1st Theater Sustainment Command, now located at Fort Bragg, N.C. The 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, though, will shift from Fort Knox to Fort Bragg. Both installations already have adequate facilities to support the moves without the need for additional construction, according to officials.
The modest gain for Fort Knox was a relief for central Kentucky, but it still doesn’t offset last year’s inactivation of the post’s single brigade combat team, which resulted in the loss of 3,400 soldiers and their families.