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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


SPEA Letters of Support

As has been reported widely in the last few weeks, the U.S. Army is considering vast cuts to both Ft. Campbell and Ft. Knox as part of the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA).  Recently, Ft. Knox and the surrounding communities were hit very hard with a troop drawdown, and with the SPEA Ft. Campbell could lose as many as 16,000 – roughly half the installation which brings an estimated $4.7 Billion economic boost to the Pennyrile region.  Today is the deadline to submit public comments, which can be done by email or by phone 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

direct email:usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil
or call 210-466-1590
toll free: 855-846-3940

I sent letters on behalf my constituents in support of both installations, with courtesy copies heading to my own federal Congressional delegation, the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Odierno, and Secretary of the Army John McHugh.  You can see my letters here:

SPEA Ft. Campbell Letter

SPEA Ft. Campbell Letter

SPEA Ft. Knox Letter

SPEA Ft. Knox Letter