By Fort Stewart Press ReleaseJuly 13, 2015
FORT STEWART -- The 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart and Fort Benning have been impacted by the Department of the Army's force structure decisions announced today.
Fort Stewart will lose 950 Soldiers and Fort Benning will lose 3,400 Soldiers by converting the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, to an infantry battalion task force. The 3rd ID's mission does not change, nor does its value to the Army due to these reductions. After fully implementing the Army plan (Sept 2017) Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield will have 18,457 Active Duty Soldiers which is 3,287 more than before 11 Sept 2001.
"The announced force structure and stationing decision validates the strategic value of our power projection force and communities; but certainly affects a few of our proudest units," said Task Force Marne Commander Brig. Gen. Jim Blackburn. "We want to reassure our Southeast Georgia neighbors the impact on Fort Stewart is minimal. We're also confident we will be able to minimize the impact of these reductions on our Soldiers and their Families. Finally, rest assured the 3rd ID, Fort Benning and Fort Stewart remain pivotal to our nation's defense; we will continue to train to meet our nation's needs."
The 3rd ID's reductions are a portion of the Army's force structure decisions and stationing plans for the reduction of the Regular Army from 490,000 to 450,000 Soldiers. This reduction of 40,000 Soldiers will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. This represents a cumulative cut of 120,000 Soldiers from the Regular Army, or 21 percent, since 2012. These will be accompanied by a reduction of approximately 17,000 Department of the Army Civilian employees.
Some of the 950 Soldiers to be cut at Fort Stewart will be achieved by reducing the size of the 3rd ID headquarters and reducing the size of some of the tenant units.
Currently, Fort Stewart has more than 15,500 military personnel and more than 3,200 Army Civilians. A 950-Soldier reduction would bring the Fort Stewart population down to 14,550 military personnel. Fort Stewart previously had 14,000 military personnel in 2002. A 950-Soldier reduction roughly equates to a loss of 2,500 family members.
The infantry battalion task force is permanent force structure specifically designed to allow an option for expansion to a BCT if necessary. Essentially, the task force serves as the nucleus around which the Army may reform a BCT later on. These elements allow us to preserve some measure of combat power and reversibility within a 450,000 force.
We anticipate that the majority of the Department of the Army Civilian reductions will be absorbed through attrition and positions that are currently unfilled. The analysis of installation impacts for civilian reductions is ongoing.
Driven by fiscal constraints resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011 and defense strategic and budgetary guidance, these cuts will impact nearly every Army installation, both in the continental United States and overseas.
The reductions are the result of a comprehensive analysis of mission requirements and installation capabilities that included public participation. The Army conducted community listening sessions at the Army's 30 largest installations to receive input from civic leaders and local residents to ensure that no important factors were overlooked prior to making decisions. More than 22,000 community members attended these meetings.
If current law budget caps, commonly referred to as sequestration, are not addressed, end-strength will be further reduced to 420,000 Soldiers by FY2019. This will result in a cumulative loss of 150,000 Soldiers from the Regular Army - a 26 percent cut over a seven year period. The resulting force would be incapable of simultaneously meeting current deployment requirements and responding to the overseas contingency requirements of the combatant commands.