At the end of June, the Department of the Army released its Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) for the Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI).
This year’s SPEA is an expansion of the 2013 Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA), which was designed to assess the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of potential force reductions on military communities, like Fort Leonard Wood. In order to achieve the savings required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Army is required to eliminate an additional 70,000 Soldiers and Army civilian positions. Both assessments provide insight into the socioeconomic impact of a potential reduction to an Active Component end-strength of 420,000 Soldiers.
The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership has received and analyzed the recently released SPEA and is aware of the possible impacts, but knows that the region is strong and has many positive attributes that appeal to the Army. The SOP has spent the past three years focusing on sustainability projects that specifically appeal to the Army and showcase the region’s strengths. The SOP has been steadily communicating with state and national leaders and has coordinated visits to the area by Senators Blunt and McCaskill, as well as Congresswoman Hartzler. We also have plans to move on a new healthcare initiative and we will continue to build relationships between installation and community leaders.
Our SPEA Response:
In August of 2014, citizens in the Fort Leonard Wood region responded strongly to the SPEA findings that called for a possible reduction of 5,400 military and civilian positions at Fort Leonard Wood. Over 4,000 emails, letters, and petition signatures were submitted to the U.S. Army in support of Fort Leonard Wood. Additionally, many of those letters drew on personal experience and were unique responses to the proposed cuts.
The SOP anticipates that the Army will release formal numbers from the Call to Action period soon and we will release those as soon as we receive them.
What is BRAC?
BRAC stands for Base Realignment and Closure and www.defense.gov expands this definition to tell us, “it is the congressionally authorized process DoD has previously used to reorganize its base structure to more efficiently and effectively support our forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.”
At our 2014 Annual Meeting by Association of Defense Communities CEO Tim Ford made a presentation which included an overview of BRAC. Click here to listen to an excerpt from his speech.
What is Sequestration?
Sequestration is a federal government process that automatically mandates cuts to the federal budget. Many departments and agencies are effected by the cuts.
The threat of sequestration occurred during talks over the Budget Control Act of 2011. Compromise was not reached before time ran out. Automatic, across-the-board budget cuts were scheduled to begin on January 2, 2013.
Congress passed the taxpayer Relief Act on January 1st in hopes of allowing more time for talks and compromise. Congress could not agree on a budget and the mandatory cuts of $80 billion for non-exempt discretionary and mandatory programs went into effect on March 1, 2013.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 will see continued cuts to mandatory programs, but appropriators have simply been given a limit of spending. They can decide how and where these cuts come from. The U.S. will see a cut of $109.3 billion in FY 2014. For a more precise breakdown, click here.