Fort Huachuca faces deep cuts, public must step up

fort-hachukaFor almost a year, supporters of southern Arizona’s military bases have been trying to get the attention of their fellow residents and representatives in an effort to stop the federal government’s promised cuts which would not only put the country at greater risk, but devastate the region’s economy.

On Thursday, the Army opened a 60-day public comment period on its proposal to cut up to 2,700 jobs at Fort Huachuca.

The Army is proposing to reduce its active duty force from 516,753 today to 450,000 in three years and possibly to 420,000 by fiscal year 2019.

According to Arizona Congressman Ron Barber’s office, in examining the number of military and civilian employees at 30 of its installations, the Army developed a “worst-case” scenario to evaluate the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the cuts. The worst case scenario the Army is assessing for Fort Huachuca would be a cut of 2,700 military and civilian personnel.

Barber called on the community to participate in the process.

Public comment will last for 60 days. Comments may be made by email to: usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil.

The Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) for Army 2020 force structure realignment reads in part:

Nearly all Army installations will be affected in some way by additional reductions. The 2013 PEA evaluated 21 Army installations and joint bases where Army stationing changes could lead to Brigade Combat Team (BCT) restructuring, the loss of a BCT through force drawdown, or a combined loss of 1,000 or more Soldiers and Army civilian employees (Army employees) during the fiscal year 2013-2020 timeframe. With the deeper reductions now anticipated, the Army must consider additional installations that have the potential to lose 1,000 or more Army employees. The potential loss of 1,000 Army employees was determined to be the appropriate threshold for inclusion of installations at the programmatic level of analysis. Installations that could experience reductions of 1,000 or more Army employees were specifically analyzed in the SPEA.

In both the 2013 PEA and the SPEA, each document’s respective reduction alternative analyzed potential reductions at Fort Benning, GA; Fort Bliss, TX; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Campbell, KY; Fort Carson, CO; Fort Drum, NY; Fort Gordon, GA; Fort Hood, TX; Fort Irwin, CA; Fort Knox, KY; Fort Lee, VA; Fort Leonard Wood, MO; Fort Polk, LA; Fort Riley, KS; Fort Sill, OK; Fort Stewart, GA; Fort Wainwright, AK; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA; and, United States Army Garrison (USAG) Hawaii — Schofield Barracks, HI. The SPEA also analyzed potential reductions at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD; Fort Belvoir, VA; Fort Huachuca, AZ; Fort Jackson, SC; Fort Leavenworth, KS; Fort Meade, MD; Fort Rucker, AL; Joint Base San Antonio — Fort Sam Houston, TX; and USAG Hawaii — Fort Shafter.

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