Hard news at its finest, and not our typical blog fodder, but this is information important to our internal audience, as well as our affected communities. The story behind the story is the number of meetings, internal debates and discussions that go into announcements like this. Behind every stationing decision in our military is a careful study of how it will affect our Soldiers, and their families.
The secretary of the Army announced today that in accordance with the President’s budget, the Army has halted the plan to build three additional brigade combat teams (BCTs) at Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Carson, Colo., and Fort Stewart, Ga. This decision will not affect the Army’s authorized end strength of 547,400. The Army will reach its target of 45 BCTs in fiscal 2010 with the activation of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss.
Today’s announcement does not involve the restationing of the two heavy BCTs scheduled to return from Europe in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, which is being examined as part of the ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review. The Army also announced today that White Sands Missile Range, N.M., will no longer receive a BCT from Europe in fiscal as originally planned.
Halting the three additional BCTs ensures that the Army retains its ability to support future requirements and maximizes the ability of brigades to deploy for contingency operations and major exercises opportunities and access to training facilities, battle command centers, and training support centers to provide ready units to meet Army Campaign Plan missions; and quality of life for soldiers and families.
Additionally, this course of action is the least disruptive to affected communities and facilitates the best use of taxpayer dollars and current and planned fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010 military construction projects. These projects play an essential role in supporting the growth to 547,400 and ensuring our Army soldiers and families have the quality facilities they deserve.
Today’s announcement will allow Congress to make time-sensitive and important authorization and appropriations decisions. The Army will provide Congress shortly a detailed, project-by-project list that specifies which facility requirements have changed and which remain valid.
“I understand the tough economic impact this decision will have on the communities that have worked so hard to prepare for the arrival of the three brigades,” said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. “They are great partners with the Army, and we will need their continued support as we work on the growth that is underway at these locations.”
With this announced change, the population at Fort Bliss is projected to grow from 13,742 in 2003 to 36,069 in 2013; Fort Carson from 15,199 to 25,003; and Fort Stewart from 20,512 to 24,970.
The Army leadership is committed to properly informing all members of the American public, Congress, soldiers and families as developments occur.