As Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Campbell discussed with media on Friday, the Army has initiated a supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) to assess the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts at the local and installation levels in the event the Army is forced to reduce to 420,000 active-component end strength.
Significant end-strength reductions below 490,000 Soldiers exceed the scope of analysis in the original 2013 PEA, requiring an updated assessment. The Supplement PEA is designed to update the 2013 PEA by assessing the impact of a potential reduction of an additional 70,000 Soldiers.
Each of the 30 installations included in the Supplement PEA are being assessed based on a maximum potential loss of military and civilian positions that each specific installation could possibly see in the event of a reduction to 420,000.
Fort Drum is being assessed on a loss of up to 16,000 Soldiers and Civilian Employees. The supplemental assessment study number for Fort Drum includes the inactivation of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which was announced after the original PEA. As such, the Supplement PEA is actually looking at the impacts of a reduction of approximately 14,500 additional Soldiers and Civilians here at Fort Drum.
It is imperative to note the overall numbers assessed in the Supplement PEA do not reflect actual or projected losses; the PEA is NOT a decision – it is an assessment of the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts of losing a potential number of civilian and military positions at an installation.
The Supplement PEA is only one of many components that the Army will use when making force structure decisions. The Army will consider impacts on military communities when making force structure realignment decisions. The final force structure and its geographic distribution will be based on the proper balance of combat forces and combat support elements.
"The secretary of defense stated that the Army is transitioning to a force that is more capable of rapid deployment," said Brig. Gen. Michael L. Howard, acting senior commander, Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division. “Well, that is exactly what the 10th Mountain Division is – a very light, very mobile unit; that's why the 10th was created – to deploy rapidly. In that regard, I think we are in good shape.
"In the coming months, as senior leaders across the Army and DOD go through the decision making process about force size changes, they have made clear that input from local and state leaders is welcome and will be considered. They look forward
to hearing from you," Howard added.
Once the supplemental assessment is complete and approved by Army leadership, the Army will post its findings.
This is the same process the Army used in the 2013 PEA – to include a mandatory comment period as prescribed in the National Environmental Policy Act process and a public "listening session." There is no timeline for these yet, but they are anticipated this summer, sometime after June.
Fort Drum Public Affairs Office