Yesterday, the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John McHugh, announced the Army will establish a new two-star command headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). This new command will provide a level of leadership that puts it more in line with similarly structured bases in the Army.
Back in September 2011, I tasked Forces Command to work with the Department of the Army Headquarters, I Corps and JBLM leaders to develop options for the development of this headquarters. We determined that the establishment of a two-star headquarters will best serve our Soldiers and Families to ensure we sustain the highest training and readiness standards.
The number of Soldiers and Family Members living and working at JBLM has increased dramatically since 2003, while the command structure has remained the same. Approximately 15,000 Soldiers and 22,000 more Family Members live and work at JBLM than did nine years ago. We owe our Soldiers and Family Members the added energy and attention that this additional command can provide.
Fort Bragg and Fort Hood are corps headquarters with a similar number of brigades; accordingly, they have other two-star commands to assist in the training, readiness and administration of those brigades. The leaders at I Corps have been asked to lead 10 different brigades and conduct operational deployments without any intermediate level General Officer commands. The new two-star command will adjust our number of leaders-to-units to a better ratio, and it will also serve us well if and when the I Corps headquarters is deployed.
Some may think this is a reaction to negative events and news that has come from JBLM recently. That is simply not the case. This move comes following a thorough analysis of the conditions on the ground at JBLM and brings the base in line with all the other command structures throughout our Army.
I’m extremely proud of the sacrifices and contributions of the families and soldiers at JBLM. They have been integral to our operational and tactical success in Iraq and Afghanistan.