Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri — The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership thanks the communities and citizens for providing over 2,300 responses to the Army’s call for public comment on its force reduction plans. The Army proposes to reduce its end strength from 562,000 active duty troops at the end of fiscal year 2012 to 490,000 by fiscal year 2020. The Army 2020 plan would impact Fort Leonard Wood with a reduction of up to 3,900 soldiers and Army civilians. This would be a loss of 41% of permanent staff at FLW. The model the Army uses also projects a loss of 450 direct and 504 indirect jobs in the region.
In response to the Army, citizens in the communities surrounding Fort Leonard Wood made their voices heard. In addition, the Governor, our Senators and Representatives, and many of our state legislators and department heads sent supportive letters to the Army. Local community leaders at the county, city and civic levels added their comments to those of businesses and universities.
The thrust of most of the letters was that the proposed reductions would have a devastating effect on the communities surrounding FLW and that growing, not reducing, FLW’s mission and resources made much more sense. The response by the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership pointed to significant flaws in the Army’s study and the conclusion that the withdrawal of forces from Fort Leonard Wood would have no significant impact. That letter is accessible at www.SustainableOzarks.org.
Steve Tupper, Chairman of the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership, says, “The number and thoughtfulness of responses from our communities and our state send a clear message – we know the value of Fort Leonard Wood to national defense, and we are proud of our long and sustained support our military neighbors. We salute every citizen who took the time and effort to send a response.”
Sustainable Ozarks Partnership (SOP) is a non-profit organization that focuses on the four counties surrounding Fort Leonard Wood. It identifies and helps implement major programs and projects that improve and sustain the quality of life in the region and enable continued growth of Fort Leonard Wood. More information on SOP can be found at the SOP website.