Last Modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 1:23 AM
U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Shreveport, said Friday that President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats should “reform entitlement mandatory spending programs” to prevent possible cuts to more than 20 military installations, including Fort Polk.
Fort Polk officials and local residents heard Thursday about a Department of the Army report on troop reductions and realignments. The force reductions at Fort Polk could include 5,300 soldiers and civilians by the year 2020.
Fleming said he voted against the Budget Control Act for 2011 because it generated sequestration — a series of cuts in nearly all areas of federal spending that will happen March 1, if Congress and Obama do not take action.
“I felt holding the military hostage was a bad idea,” he said. “We’re looking at the president to take leadership on this.”
Fleming asked Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno on Wednesday about how sequestration would affect military installations. He said Odierno could not give specifics, but heard that the cuts “would not be obvious at first, but would become more severe over time.”
An alternative plan listed in the report calls for adding 1,000 soldiers to Fort Polk by the year 2020. The report also includes a “No Action Alternative,” where the Army would retain its 562,000 active-duty soldiers, the total at the end of the 2012 fiscal year.
Because Fort Polk is expected to grow by 100,000 acres, Fleming said he suggested permanently locating the rotating brigades that come to the Joint Readiness Training Center. Odierno said it is too soon to consider that option since the Army is working to reduce “80,000 (active duty) soldiers.”
The comment period on the plan was recently extended from Feb. 19 to March 21. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in an email that she requested the extension because she was “deeply concerned about the Army’s initial findings on Fort Polk and the surrounding communities.”
“I urge all members of our community to use this opportunity to make their voices heard about the importance of Fort Polk and the brave soldiers and families that serve our country,” she said.
According to a news release, Leesville Mayor Robert Rose said the extension was “appropriate given the gross number of misrepresentations about Fort Polk” in the report. Rose said he and other officials discovered that some of the information in the report was several years old, contained errors and was incomplete.
Other installations considered in the report: Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Hood, Texas; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Army Garrison Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Comments can be emailed to USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil.
Posted By: Jim in Oberlin On: 2/16/2013
Title: America Needs All Of Fort Polk
I ask you, "Do you really know what goes on there"? Fort Polk train's Army, Swat and Foreign units in things they need to know for their deployment, area of operation and the specific threats they may face. They practice, hard won techniques learned by combat. Do we really want to loose this capability? Do we want to send, future soldiers, our sons and daughters, fathers and grandfathers into battle unprepared? Cut somewhere else. Somewhere there the Government has no business funding anyway. Like the turtle fence in Michigan. Foreign Aid to Countries that hate us. Quit spending on alternative energy, we have plenty oil, shale, coal, natural gas to fuel us for the next couple of centuries The National Defense is a Constitutional mandate. Many funded budgetary items are not. Lets get back to the business Government should be doing. Our Army deserves better than this. Our Civilian workers in the Lessville area do to.
Posted By: claude On: 2/16/2013
Title: Not in my backyard
Everyone is calling for the federal government to cut spending, but "Not in my backyard!"