Kansas officials reacted to today’s announcement of a reduction in troops at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley.
Defense spending cuts announced today by the U.S. Army would result in 60 fewer troop positions at Fort Leavenworth and 615 fewer troop positions at Fort Riley. Overall, throughout the military, there will be a reduction from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers, according to the announcement. Besides the 40,000 soldiers cut, there will be an additional 17,000 civilian employees cut. The cuts were attributed to budget constraints.
If fiscal caps of the 2011 Budget Control Act, known as sequestration, are not addressed, more personnel cuts could take place by the end of fiscal year 2019, reducing the Army to 420,000 soldiers, according to the Army’s announcement.
Some other troop cutbacks in other areas of the nation were much worse than cuts to Kansas bases, according to a statement from Gov. Sam Brownback.
“As expected, the Army is being forced to make difficult decisions due to federal budgetary constraints and today announced that Ft. Riley will face reductions of 615 active duty soldiers and Ft. Leavenworth reductions of 60 active duty soldiers,” Gov. Brownback said in a statement.
“Although no cuts would be preferable, many other installations fared significantly worse. The limited reductions to the Kansas Army installations are a credit to the remarkable commitment of local communities and those serving on our Kansas installations,” Brownback stated.
“While today is an important step for Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth’s communities as well as the state, we must remain vigilant in our support during this time of budget uncertainty. If sequestration is not corrected, the Army will be forced to make further substantial cuts, which could negatively affect Army bases in Kansas,” Brownback stated.
He stated he would continue to work to support the military bases, leadership and the soldiers and families stationed at the two bases.
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., released the following statement today regarding the U.S. Army’s announcement of force strength reductions at bases across the country including Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley:
“Unfortunately, constrained defense spending has forced the Army to make difficult decisions. However, it is evident the Army understands the contributions Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley make to our national security given the minimal reduction of Kansas soldiers,” Sen. Moran stated.
“Through constant, high-level engagements with Army leadership on Capitol Hill, at the Pentagon, and back home in Junction City – with an unparalleled turnout of Kansans during the Listening Session in February – our state has clearly demonstrated support for our service members and their families. I am pleased Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley survived this significant challenge, but will continue to work to make certain the Army does not pursue additional reductions. Additionally, I will work to ensure the Department of Defense has the resources necessary to train and equip our soldiers to defend our country and safeguard Americans.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., also issued a statement:
“The communities surrounding Ft. Riley and Ft. Leavenworth can be very proud. They helped convince the Army to retain such strong numbers when major cuts are being made across the country. Kansans have once again shown they provide our military with the best support anywhere in this nation. Compared overall, Kansas cuts amount to less than two percent of the overall national reduction, reflecting the valuable role both forts serve for the Army and national security. The grassroots efforts we have seen have in both communities were key to preventing more drastic cuts.
“I am proud of the men and women who serve at all of our military installations, and I’m even prouder of how Kansas has embraced the armed forces and their place in our communities.”