Local Support Groups Launch Effort to Oppose Budget Cuts

The community-based support groups for Fort Polk, La., and Fort Campbell, Ky., on Monday announced a campaign to fight budget-driven cuts in the Army’s force structure.

The two groups, Fort Polk Progress and Friends of Fort Campbell, are hoping to gain the support of other Army communities as well. 

“The goal of our newly-formed coalition is to not only meet our fellow Army community leaders, but to exchange ideas and to find a consensus around protecting active-duty Army force structure,” Jim Durrett, mayor of Montgomery County, Tenn., said in a press release.

“Every Army community is invited to participate. We know the Army needs our help. We want to galvanize our voices and unite our efforts nationwide to do just that.  The community must be the advocate for the brigade combat teams moving forward,” Durrett said.

The effort closely follows the Army’s latest round of restructuring, which will trim its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of FY 2018. A further reduction to an end strength of 420,000 is anticipated if the Budget Control Act spending caps remain in place. From FY 2013 to FY 2015, the Army trimmed its end strength from 570,000 to 490,000.

“The active-duty Army is being reduced too quickly. The brigade combat teams we host in our communities are weapons systems built around the soldier. They cannot be built overnight and they deserve to be protected,” said Mike Reese, chairman of Fort Polk Progress.

In the coming months, the two military support organizations will try to attract other Army communities to join the coalition aimed at preserving the Army’s active-duty forces, according to the release.

“No one Army community can do that. We need to unite and let our voices be heard that the Army is already too small,” said Rich Liebe, a magistrate for Christian County, Ky.

Dan Cohen
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