The below has been communicated to Congress by the Army: "Today, the Department of the Army announced force structure decisions and stationing plans for the reduction of the Regular Army from 490,000 to 450,000 Soldiers. Driven by fiscal constraints resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011 and defense strategic and budgetary guidance, this reduction amounts to a cumulative cut of 120,000 Soldiers from the Regular Army, or 21 percent, since 2012. The reduction of force structure will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017; the reduction of 40,000 end strength will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2018, and will be accompanied by the reduction of 17,000 Department of the Army Civilian employees. These cuts will impact nearly every Army installation, both in the continental United States and overseas."
"It's gratifying to see Pentagon officials reinforce Fort Campbell's importance and excellence in operations. Moreover, it has been an honor to work with regional leaders from our community as well as Clarksville-Montgomery County in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. Fort Campbell unifies our region and we are better for it!" stated Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks.
Proposed cutbacks under the Budget Control Act of 2011 were previously publicized as potentially costing the army post about 16,000 soldiers and civilians. The Army, which has already been looking at cutting around 40,000 troops in total due to military budget constraints, has officially announced that Fort Campbell will only see a small fraction of that.
Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett stated, "I could not be more pleased with the news. We hate to lose any troops from Fort Campbell, but with the looming question of a potential reduction of thousands, we are excited to learn the impact to our base and our community will be minimal."
He continued, "We know the importance of the Fort Campbell community and this shows that the Army does too. I want to thank our Washington delegation for their work to save Fort Campbell and also much gratitude is due to the citizens of Montgomery County, Christian County and the surrounding area for stepping up and making your voices heard during the Listening Session. The message regarding the importance of Fort Campbell was made loud and clear, and obviously heard."
Over the past year delegates from both states, Tennessee and Kentucky, have been working to make sure Fort Campbell was spared from major cuts during this decision process. Delegates from across the region have made numerous trips to Washington D.C.; executed a strong Community Listening Session on January 20, 2015, in which over 2,000 people filled three facilities on post, 2,500 were turned away at the gates due to these facilities reaching capacity, and another 1,400 people tuning in to watch the live stream that was hosted by MWR; and sent hundreds of letters during the public comment portion in which community members were able to voice their concerns.
Katie Lopez, Director of Military and Governmental Affairs at the Christian County Chamber of Commerce said, "We are pleased that Fort Campbell was spared from additional major cuts. Our region has vigorously advocated for the high military value of Fort Campbell's outstanding combat units. I believe our strong community representation at the Community Listening Session on January 20th really demonstrated just how serious we are as a region when it comes to investing in the well-being of the soldiers and families at Fort Campbell." She went on to state, "We understand that Army leadership faced difficult decisions due to limited defense budgets and are thankful that the Army engaged in community listening sessions as well as a careful deliberative process."
Christian County Judge Executive Steve Tribble stated "We are delighted to learn that Fort Campbell will not be receiving any additional major cuts. As a region, both Clarskville-Montgomery County and Hopkinsville-Christian County have worked tirelessly to ensure Pentagon officials were aware of not only Fort Campbell's strategic importance to our Nation's security but also the community support our region provides for the men and women who bravely serve our country".
Full details of the proposed troop cuts will not be released until the fall.