In an hour-long town hall meeting held Tuesday at the Nutter Field House, Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith addressed a crowd of around 850 people about the 3,400 employee furloughs that are coming over the next few months to the installation's civilian population.
The furloughs are part of $487 billion reduction in the Department of Defense funding which is based on the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The furloughs will begin Monday, July 8, and run through Sept. 30, 2013.
Smith's talk was one part informational and another part morale booster as he emphasized the fact that he knows that these coming months will not be easy for those affected by the furloughs.
However, he voiced that it is his job as the commanding general to make sure that there is an infrastructure in place to help all those in need.
"One of the great aspects of this place (Fort Leonard Wood) is that whether it is inside or outside the gates, we are a family," he said. "And we as a team will make it through this."
The 30-year Army veteran told the crowd that the coming months will not be business as usual. However, he assured the crowd that processes and systems are in place for those who need help.
"Do not think that you are on an island by yourself when it comes to a challenge or situation that you may have," he told the crowd.
Halfway through the meeting Pam Welch, director of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) outlined a number of specific assistance programs that Fort Leonard Wood is putting into place to help individuals or families.
Among them are counselors and chaplains who are making themselves available above and beyond their normal hours for those who want to talk.
As well, local bank officials are able to help with advice on refinancing or financial planning. Welch also encouraged all to take advantage of free activities for families which are put on by the department of Morale Welfare and Recreation.
The major general ended the town hall session by fielding questions from those attendance. Around a half dozen or so people from the crowd stood up to address their concerns and ask questions.
While he did his best to answer each person's question, he encouraged those having more issues to seek out their answer with the appropriate person or department.