The Army has announced Force Structure Realignment 2020, a plan to restructure its forces and cut uniformed and civilian personnel around the country. It includes the elimination of up to 885 positions at Fort Leonard Wood by 2019. That would include the inactivation of an Engineer Battalion Headquarters, three Engineer Construction Companies and the Brigade Support Battalion.
A draft plan in January called for as many as 3,900 positions to be eliminated at Fort Leonard Wood, leading Governor Jay Nixon (D), Senators Claire McCaskill (D) and Roy Blunt (R) and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R) all to release statements noting that the plan announced Tuesday could have been worse for Missouri.
Sustainable Ozarks Partnership Executive Director Joe Driskill credits those elected officials as well as State Representative Steve Lynch and State Senator Dan Brown for their roles in raising awareness about the proposed cuts.
He notes no cuts were made among the Fort’s training personnel, which he calls its most important mission for the future.
“Some 80,000 not only soldiers but members of the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and even foreign officers are actually trained at Fort Leonard Wood … both for entry-level training, what most people call ‘basic training,’ plus advanced training in the major specialities that are taught here; military police, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, and also engineering specialities.”
Driskill notes these cuts are not related to sequestration, which could take an additional toll on the Fort.
“We are hoping that the Congress and the President can get together around a modest level of further cuts that don’t impact Fort Leonard Wood and don’t impact the readiness of our Army and other military forces.”
For a transcript of the announcement by Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odiero, click here.