Army study examines realignment scenarios - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Fort Polk included in Army realignment scenario study

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WASHINGTON (KPLC) -

A recent Department of the Army study outlines force structure reductions and realignments that may occur on some U.S. Army bases before 2020.

The study is outlined in the "Programmatic Environmental Assessment," known as "PEA," and draft "Finding of No Significant Impact," released last week.

Army officials, in a news release from the U.S. Environmental Command, said the Programmatic Environmental Assessment "evaluates and assesses the environmental impacts of potential adjustments to Army forces at 21 installations."

One of the installations included in the study is Fort Polk.

Others considered include: Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Irwin, Calif; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Lee, Va.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii; and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Officials said the sites were chosen because they could experience a change in soldiers and civilians that exceeds a total of "plus or minus 1,000 military personnel."

The Army's proposed action evaluated within the study is to reduce the Army's active duty end-strength from 562,000 at the end of Fiscal Year 2012 to 490,000 by Fiscal Year 2020.

The study looks at two primary alternatives:

Alternative #1 would implement force reductions "by inactivating a minimum of eight Brigade Combat Teams, known as BCTs, and realign other combat, combat support, and service support units between Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2020."

Alternative #2 would involve implementing Alternative 1, inactivating additional BCTs, and reorganizing remaining BCTs "by adding an additional combat maneuver battalion and other units."

The study also analyzes a "No Action" alternative, under which the Army would not reduce the size of the force, the release states.

Officials said the Army conducted the study to support "future anticipated changes and reductions to its forces that are necessary to reduce spending while maintaining critical national defense capabilities."

"The implementation of Army force realignment will occur over the course of several years to arrive at an optimally configured force in 2020. Reductions in Army soldiers will also be accompanied by some reduction in civil service employees," the release states.

"Force realignment and some level of force reduction will impact most major Army installations. The implementation of this force rebalancing is necessary to allow the Army to operate in a reduced budget climate, while ensuring the Army can continue to support the nation's critical defense missions," it continues.

Officials said final decisions as to which alternative to implement and which installations will see reductions or unit realignments have not yet been made.

Decisions will be made based on "mission-related criteria and other factors in light of the information contained in the PEA," the release states.

The public can review the PEA and draft FNSI and submit comments on the draft FNSI until Feb. 19.

An electronic version of the PEA and draft FNSI is available for download at: http://aec.army.mil/usaec/nepa/topics00.html.

Officials said comments or questions on the PEA should be submitted to: Public Comments USAEC, Attn: IMPA-AE (Army 2020 PEA), 2450 Connell Road (Bldg 2264), Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664, or emailed to: USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil.

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