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Army grants extension for responses to force structure study

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Local organizations such as the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization will have an additional 30 days to craft a response to an Army assessment of force reductions.

According to a release from the Army Environmental Command, the extension was granted after receiving requests from the public, state reviewing agencies and members of Congress.

The deadline for responses is March 21.

The possibility of a delay was presented at Thursday’s FDRLO meeting. Carl A. McLaughlin, the organization’s executive director, said the combined response was close to being finished and would have been ready had the initial deadline been maintained.

He described the response as a “community story on the effect of Fort Drum,” based on data in a variety of categories.

The military study reviewed the impacts of a range of cuts and additions that could take place at installations nationwide as the service looks to reduce its active-duty end strength from 562,000 in fiscal year 2012 to 490,000 in fiscal year 2020.

Locally, a cut of as many as 8,000 personnel at Fort Drum could spell massive losses in area incomes, sales revenue and jobs, and an increase of as many as 3,000 personnel would lead to economic growth.

Multiple parties, including Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the post and 10th Mountain Division commander, have projected the post will not see changes to the extremes presented in the assessment.

The post’s training capabilities and the community’s support of military activity have been seen as positives for the local response.

The Army assessment can be seen at http://aec.army.mil/usaec/nepa/topics00.html. Comments about the findings can be submitted by mailing them to Public Comments USAEC, Attn: IMPA-AE (Army 2020 PEA), 2450 Connell Road (Bldg 2264), Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234-7664, or emailing them to usarmy.jbsa.aec.mbx@mail.mil.

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