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Ft Campbell

We Need You All, Just Not As Many

We Need You All, Just Not As Many

Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, visited Ft. Campbell this week to address soldiers and installation commanders about two topics straight from global headlines, Ebola and the ordered force drawdown.  Here is an excerpt of his remarks, courtesy David Snow with The Eagle Post:

You all understand the perils, the threats, the challenges that face our country.

The world is shifting and changing the world order. It’s shifting like we’ve never seen before. The velocity of that change is unprecedented.

The challenges and threats that face our country in the world today are not just from Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Yes, that is a threat that we are dealing with. But pandemic health diseases and pandemic health traits threaten the world like Ebola is part of that world scope of threats.
— Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel

The article went on to report that Secretary Hagel told the soldiers that Ft. Campbell "has unique capabilities that no other institution in the world has."

Why, then, is the installation facing potentially enormous troop drawdowns?  The Secretary seems to describe a global military theater that needs all the might we can provide.

Image Courtesy Ft. Campbell, U.S. Army

Image Courtesy Ft. Campbell, U.S. Army

The national security concerns alone warrant maintaining current service member levels, before you even begin an analysis of the relatively less important (but impossible to overstate) economic peril to West Kentucky and North Central Tennessee.

The Secretary, with all due respect, appears to be speaking from both sides of his mouth. I do not approve.

UPDATED:  Today's news that the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at Ft. Campbell, will be deactivated.  Ft. Campbell will see a 2400 troop reduction by the end of the 2015 fiscal year.  Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Rep. Ed Whitfield released this joint statement today (Nov. 20th, 2014), one that I fully agree with:

We are deeply disappointed by the Obama administration’s decision to remove the 159th CAB from Fort Campbell. It is bad news for our nation’s security and for the local Fort Campbell community. Our military’s readiness and national security must remain the highest priority for the American people, and for Fort Campbell’s troops and families in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky. We believe that cuts need to be made in places other than deployable troops as a means to make smart cuts to government spending. We also must not allow our number of troops to fall to the dangerously low levels being sought by the Obama Administration, especially at a time of increasing instability in the world.
— Sen. McConnell, Sen. Paul and Rep. Whitfield

Ft. Campbell Cuts

You may have heard recently that Ft. Campbell is facing a potential cut of drastic proportions - a personnel draw down on the order of 16,000 soldiers.

These proposed cuts come from the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) which is part of the Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment.

Imagine 16,000 fewer soldiers in the area. Now, imagine the families affected by those cuts.  Now, imagine the ripple economic effects across the entire Pennyrile and Barren River regions (not to mention Clarksville and surrounding Tennessee counties). Let that sink in for a minute.

There is no question that those areas depend largely on Fort Campbell as an economic driver and employer with an annual $4.7 billion impact. As the Christian County Chamber notes, "while the SPEA did take into account the effect on Trigg and Christian Counties it did not take into account other counties that will be affected in this drawdown.  This ripple effect will reach other Kentucky counties such as Caldwell, Hopkins and Todd just to name a few."

These cuts aren't guaranteed. You have a voice.  You have the power to influence the Department of the Army. Now is the time.

The Christian County Chamber of Commerce has posted an online submission form to send a letter to the Army expressing deep concern about the impact of the proposed cuts. Go. There. Now!


Don't want to use the Chamber's form letter? Write your own and mail it here: 

U.S. Army Environmental Command
ATTN: SPEA Public Comments
2450 Connell Road (Bldg 2264)
Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664

Or Email it here:

Or call here: 210-466-1590
Or call toll free here: 855-846-3940