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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Blunt questions impact of budget cuts to fort

  • Sen. Roy Blunt questioned Secretary of the Army John McHugh and the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno regarding the impact of budget cuts on Fort Leonard Wood during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Defense Wednesday.
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  • Sen. Roy Blunt questioned Secretary of the Army John McHugh and the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno regarding the impact of budget cuts on Fort Leonard Wood during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Defense Wednesday.
    Blunt told McHugh that he had recently met with several community leaders of Fort Leonard Wood who were pleased that McHugh visited the fort May 9-10.
    He said that the community leaders he met with raised concerns about possible future job cuts to Fort Leonard Wood due to the Army 2020 goal.
    The Army plans to reduce the total number of forces from 562,000 at the end of fiscal year 2012 to 490,000 by fiscal year 2020, which could result in cutting 3,900 jobs on Fort Leonard Wood.
    Blunt told McHugh that the Army should consider that Fort Leonard Wood is in a rural environment, compared to many other bases, and its economy is much more dependent on the installation.
    “With a fort like that, that is surrounded by national forest, which is a good thing in terms of training opportunities, the impact of the economy at a place like that is much greater than a more urban economy,” he said.
    McHugh said that he enjoyed his trip to Fort Leonard Wood and that he felt “right at home.”
    “The folks in and outside the gate were just great to us,” he said. “I felt right at home because I come from a highly rural part of America of a rural environment and it reminded me much like home.”
    McHugh also said he was impressed with the amount of training facilities Fort Leonard Wood has, mentioning the Military Police School and Sapper Leader Course.
    “What really impressed me was the range of training that occurs there and all kinds of great activities that will always be an important part of the Army,” he said. “We have made considerable investments in that facility. Those are the kinds of things we will consider very carefully as we make these hard decisions.”
    McHugh said that the Army should be making decisions regarding cutbacks in the next month.
    “Everyone should be aware that because of the Budget Control Act and sequestration, every camp, post and station will feel some impact,” he said. “Our job is to make the best possible decisions both for the Army and the taxpayer, but also for those bases that have stood tall and done great things, which Fort Leonard Wood is certainly one.”
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