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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Fort LV official: Cuts would hurt post, community

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  • If Fort Leavenworth military and civilian cuts are as drastic as the worst-case scenario, the county and nearby cities could lose as much as $500 million generated by salaries alone, a Fort Leavenworth official told the Lansing City Council on Thursday night.
    Jack Walker, deputy to the Fort Leavenworth garrison commander, made that comment as part of a presentation relating to the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Analysis.
    The military is assessing 39 military installations that could be impacted by sequestration in 2016, prompted by the Budget Control Act, legislation Walker said no one expected would pass, but did.
    If this is not reversed, the Army would have to go from 570,000 military and civilian personnel to 420,000. In this region, it could mean the loss of about 4,900 jobs initially and an additional 2,400 later.
    Walker said in September 2013, there were about 3,906 military members on post at Fort Leavenworth. If 2,500 personnel were cut, it would translate to 1,750 military and 750 civilian jobs.
    Those 2,500 positions, Walker said, would mean about $200 million would be leaving the community.
    The most important aspect of the assessment, Walker contends, is the socioeconomic impact on nearby communities.
    There is a 60-day period for public comment, which ends Monday. Community members who wish to comment can write to the U.S. Army Environmental Command, Attn: SPEA Public Comments, 2450 Connell Road (Bldg 2264) Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234-7664. You may also e-mail usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil.
    The second part of the assessment, Walker said, concerns Army values, i.e., what jobs personnel do at Fort Leavenworth and how easy would it be to live without them.
    For one thing, he said, 1,200 military policemen guard the two prisons on post. Those duties could be contracted to civilians, but it would take a change in the law, and he said it would probably cost as much as having the military in charge.
    Also, the fort's Command and General Staff College is a mid-level educational entity, and now the Army is shifting more toward leadership, Walker said. You could also stop writing doctrine or doing virtual wargaming that allows the training of staff without going to the field, which he said is more expensive.
    Though he is not in a position to suggest contacting Congressional leaders, Walker said the Mid-America Regional Council is advocating this.

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