In response to the Department of the Army's 2020 Force Structure Realignment Study announced today, Gov. Jay Nixon praised the Army's continued recognition that Fort Leonard Wood is vital to the nation's defense, and reiterated his support for the Fort Leonard Wood community.
The realignment study outlines the base-by-base impacts of the Army's reduction of 80,000 soldiers by 2017. Today's announcement that Fort Leonard Wood would see an active Army force reduction of just 885 personnel reflects a substantially more positive result for Missouri than what was anticipated as recently as February, when the Army suggested as many as 3,900 uniformed personnel may be cut.
The cut of 885 uniformed personnel at Fort Leonard Wood will result in the inactivation of an Engineer Battalion Headquarters, two Horizontal Construction Companies, a Brigade Support Battalion, and a Vertical Construction Company. This reduction will be phased in over the next four years. As a result of the Army's announcement, the proportion of uniformed personnel at Fort Leonard Wood relative to the total Army end strength will remain exactly the same.
"Fort Leonard Wood is leading the way in some of the most innovative multi-service, inter-agency training in today's Army," Gov. Nixon said. "The Army's limited, proportionate reduction here confirms that the post is a crucial component of the Army's future."
In recognition of pending Department of Defense force structure reductions and realignments, Gov. Nixon commissioned a bipartisan team of defense industry experts, led by former Senator Kit Bond and longtime House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, to help protect Missouri's military installations, families and the jobs they depend on from potentially devastating cuts. Going forward, the team will continue to work with local communities, the Congressional delegation, installation personnel and others to defend Missouri's critical military footprint.
"In addition to the team led by Sen. Bond and Cong. Skelton, I want to thank those who have been working on the bi-partisan Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission for several years," the Governor said. "The information that has been presented by MMPEC also has clearly demonstrated the strengths of both Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base."
"I am gratified that the Army has recognized the valuable contribution Fort Leonard Wood makes to our national defense," former Cong. Skelton said. "The cuts that have been recommended are relatively small compared to other bases and this reflects the Army's apparent decision to preserve Ft. Wood's outstanding training facilities and readiness mission. I continue to be proud of the fine men and women service our country at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri."
"As our military becomes leaner, it is even more important that we continue to enhance our relationship with the Department of Defense - not just on behalf of the Fort Leonard Wood community, but for military communities throughout the state, and we will do just that," Gov. Nixon said.