WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) sent a letter to U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh today expressing their concerns surrounding potential plans to reconfigure the Army's Brigade Combat Teams at Fort Leonard Wood, which are vital to Army readiness and combat effectiveness.
The Missouri Senators – who serve together as members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services – noted in the letter that during the 2005 Base Realignment and Commission (BRAC) the Army "made a conscious effort to co-station Army schools with related operational units because doing so enhances Army readiness and welfare."
"The co-stationing of [U.S. Forces Command] FORSCOM maneuver units with [Training and Doctrine Command] TRADOC schools has been a source of major success because it allows soldiers and their families to remain at Fort Leonard Wood for a longer time without an adverse impact on their careers or their value to the Army," the letter reads. The Senators urged the Army to "continue to co-station TRADOC schools and FORSCOM operational units together to enhance Army readiness and combat effectiveness."
Army officials have scheduled a community listening session on April 30, 2013, at Fort Leonard Wood's Nutter Field House to give Central Missouri communities an opportunity to provide input on the impact of potential force structure changes. The meeting, which is open to the public, will allow the Army to gather additional information regarding its 2020 Force Restructure plan, which could reduce its total end-strength numbers by at least 80,000 soldiers in 2020.
On April 4, 2013, Blunt met with U.S. Army Assistant Secretary for Installations Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack to discuss the budgetary challenges facing our national defense. Blunt serves as a member of the Armed Services Subcommittee for Personnel as well as the Armed Services Subcommittee for Readiness and Management Support, which is responsible for authorizing additional military base closures.
The Honorable John M. McHugh
Page 2 of 2 - Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310
Dear Secretary McHugh;
We write to express our concern regarding the potential effects from plans currently under consideration to reconfigure the Army's Brigade Combat Teams on the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Fort Leonard Wood is home to the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) which boasts not only domestic support capabilities used during homeland crises, but also combat-ready engineer and military police battalions used to support operational freedom of movement on the battlefield. In addition, Fort Leonard Wood is home to three major Army schoolhouses – the Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear (CBRN) School, the Engineer School and the Military Police School.
During the 2005 Base Realignment and Commission (BRAC) the Army made a conscious effort to co-station Army schools with related operational units because doing so enhances Army readiness and welfare. The unique capability offered by the collocation of world-class training, education and operational units—each mutually dependent upon the other—ensures Army readiness. For instance, when soldiers stationed at Fort Leonard Wood return from a deployment, reassigning these soldiers to the 4th MEB greatly assists in the collection, analysis and dissemination of lessons learned from operational units in combat, refinement of doctrine and techniques, and identification of operational needs. Furthermore, such reassignments of personnel can be made without a permanent change of station (PCS) for the soldier and his or her family at a time when the soldier and family are in the process of rebuilding post deployment. Similarly, former school house trainers, when assigned to a new unit in the 4th MEB, enhance unit effectiveness by bringing with them their expertise and doctrine development to the operational unit.
The co-stationing of FORSCOM maneuver units with TRADOC schools has been a source of major success because it allows soldiers and their families to remain at Fort Leonard Wood for a longer time without an adverse impact on their careers or their value to the Army. In addition, this career predictability lowers the propensity for spousal relationship problems and other stress-related instances that take place on the installation. For these reasons, we strongly suggest that the Army continue to co-station TRADOC schools and FORSCOM operational units together to enhance Army readiness and combat effectiveness.
As the Army weighs the most effective manner in which to restructure its brigade makeup, the Army must be careful to avoid harming the readiness of FORSCOM units as well as the effectiveness of TRADOC schools. We look forward to working with you in the days ahead in preserving the dedication and excellence that has come to define the US Army.
Roy Blunt Claire McCaskill
United States Senator United States Senator