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Military Downsizing Will Impact Kentucky
101st prepares to deploy from Ft. Campbell to Afghanistan. Campbell is on list for downsizing. .

(Clinton, KY August 20, 2014) - After almost 14 years of overseas wars in the Middle East, the US military structure is tired.

The Obama Administration has announced a new policy of armed forces cutbacks as they withdraw from hot wars, partially to save money and partially to restructure the American military for 21st Century threats and needs.

According to a study, "Costs of War" by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will run between $4 trillion and $4.4 trillion. The study, completed and published in 2012, did not include the years of fighting in 2013 or 2014.

As American military and political leaders try to recover from Middle East wars, they must plan for (1) removal of troops fighting in Middle East (2) restructuring of domestic military bases for new missions and (3) gaining control of military disruptive technology.

Part of that planning is trying to review existing military force structure.

Currently, the Pentagon and Defense Department operate an enormous real estate portfolio encompassing over 562,000 buildings and structures on 523 bases, posts, camps, stations, yards and centers. The replacement cost of that real estate covering 27 million acres would be $ 850 billion.

The reality for Kentucky is that of the first list of ten US Army bases to experience deep cuts, two bases are in Kentucky - Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell.

The News Enterprise, Elizabethtown, KY. newspaper provides a worst case for a new round of cuts to Ft. Knox.

"In a worst-case scenario drafted by the U.S. Army Environmental Command, Fort Knox could stand to lose a total of about 7,605 soldiers and civilians, including the roughly 3,500 departing with the inactivation of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division."
The Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment, released last month, identified significant cuts to the local post as a way to reduce the number of soldiers from a peak of around 570,000 to 440,000 or 450,000. If sequestration cuts are enacted in 2016 and beyond, the force would need to reduce down to 420,000 by 2020.

Losing an additional 4,100 soldiers and civilians beyond the impact of the 3/1 inactivation basically would erase the gains in employment Fort Knox experienced during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure initiative that brought units such as Cadet Command and Human Resources Command to Kentucky, said Brad Richardson, president and CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce.

Those numbers would equate to the loss of 5,954 active-duty soldiers and 1,651 civilians, which have average incomes of $46,760 and $57,523, respectively. Fort Knox's permanent party population was 13,127 in 2011, according to the assessment.

In addition, the SPEA report said more than 4,200 spouses and 7,300 children would leave the post with the reduction.

All told, Fort Knox could lose up to $431.2 million in compensation, which officials recognize would damage the local economy.

The assessment anticipates a loss of $424.8 million in sales and $4.1 million in sales taxes if all sales occur in Kentucky. Further fallout could be seen with declines in the housing market and reduction of school enrollment, costing teachers and staff jobs, as it did when the 3/1 departed.

Fort Knox had an overall economic impact of about $2.8 billion before the inactivation of the 3/1. That impact could fall to $2.4 billion with the maximum losses proposed, said Ryan Brus, Fort Knox Public Affairs officer.

A similar story is developing for Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

According to Clarksville, TN. mayor, Kim McMillan, new figures from the Army will greatly impact the Army base and the surrounding region.

"The Army said in July that Fort Campbell could lose half of its civilian and military workforce. This is roughly 16,000 people. The economic hit would be $863 million."

Christian County Chamber of Commerce official, Kensley Marcus, said that ".. the large scale cuts would lead to 41,000 people leaving the area."

The next governor must deal with the $15 billion dollar military industry in Kentucky that serves three primary bases and over 500 military industrial research and development supply companies.

The planned cuts are the first shots fired in an expected long battle over who in domestic military bases will bear the brunt of military spending cutbacks.

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