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Senator opposes cuts at Fort Drum

WATERTOWN - In the wake of news that the Army plans reductions of their nationwide force, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) vowed to fight any potential reductions in Army personnel at Fort Drum. Schumer said that, even in an era of downsizing and with the potential return of sequestration in 2016, Ft. Drum should be one of the Army’s top priorities because of their essential assets.

Ft. Drum houses light infantry who are capable of rapid deployment, which fits the Army’s stated goal of transitioning to a more highly trained and mobile force. Schumer said that Ft. Drum and the 10th Mountain Division represent the epitome of what the future Army should look like, and he will fight any attempt to reduce their personnel.

The senator discussed the Army’s proposed reductions and how he plans to ensure Ft. Drum maintains high levels of staffing – for both military and civilian employment.

“The 10th Mountain division is exactly the kind of highly-trained, nimble, and tactical unit that the Army wants to be the new standard for our armed forces,” Schumer said. “So as the Army assesses its need to cut personnel, I will make it loud and clear that Fort Drum should not come within a whiff of those plans. Even as reductions must be made across the country, the military personnel at Ft. Drum should be maintained.  Beyond its importance as a hub of the regional economy, Ft. Drum and the 10thMountain division is one of our country’s foremost military units. While there is understandable concern about reductions – and no doubt there will be battles to fight – I am confident that Ft. Drum and the 10th Mountain division will play just as instrumental a role in the future of our armed services as they have in the past.”

Last month, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Army planned to reduce its national forces over the next two years. The Army’s plan is to reduce its Active duty force from 570,000 to approximately 490,000 by the end of 2015 and down to 450,000 by the end of 2019. Schumer also noted that if sequestration was to return in 2016, as it is currently in line to do, the troop levels would have to be cut to as low as 420,000 by 2019. Schumer said that these reductions have been cause for alarm at military installations across the country, but laid out the reasons why Ft. Drum is in a better position than most military outfits and should be spared the brunt of these cuts.