WASHINGTON (Jan. 18, 2013) -- The Department of the Army has completed a final Programmatic Environmental Assessment and draft Finding of No Significant Impact for Army force structure reductions and realignments that may occur from Fiscal Years 2013-2020.
The Programmatic Environmental Assessment, known as a PEA, evaluates and assesses the environmental impacts of potential adjustments to Army forces at 21 installations. The Army has completed the analysis to support future anticipated changes and reductions to its forces that are necessary to reduce spending while maintaining critical national defense capabilities.
The Army's proposed action evaluated in the PEA is to reduce the Army's active duty end-strength from 562,000 at the end of Fiscal Year 2012 to 490,000 by Fiscal Year 2020. The PEA analyzes two primary alternatives: Alternative #1: Implement force reductions by inactivating a minimum of eight Brigade Combat Teams, known as BCTs, and realign other combat, combat support, and service support units between Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2020; and Alternative #2: Implement Alternative 1, inactivate additional BCTs, and reorganize remaining BCTs by adding an additional combat maneuver battalion and other units.
The PEA also analyzes a No Action alternative, under which the Army would not reduce the size of the force.
The implementation of Army force realignment will occur over the course of several years to arrive at an optimally configured force in 2020. Reductions in Army Soldiers will also be accompanied by some reduction in civil service employees.
These actions are being undertaken to reshape the Army's forces to meet more effectively national security requirements while reducing the Army's end-strength. Force realignment and some level of force reduction will impact most major Army installations. The implementation of this force rebalancing is necessary to allow the Army to operate in a reduced budget climate, while ensuring the Army can continue to support the nation's critical defense missions.
After more than 10 years of war, our nation is facing new challenges and opportunities that call for reshaping our defense priorities. Concurrent with a reduction and realignment of the force, the Army proposes to reorganize and restructure its forces using lessons learned over the past 10 years, information about what the future global security environment will be like, and results of previous brigade combat team studies to reshape the Army into a force capable of supporting the full spectrum of military operations.
In the PEA, the Army has evaluated the environmental impacts that may occur at 21 installations that will likely experience changes in Soldier populations as part of Army 2020 force structure realignments and force reduction decisions. Force reductions that may occur as part of the proposed action include the inactivation of Army BCTs and combat support and combat service support units at Army and joint base stationing locations. The decisions on how to best implement Army force reductions and force structure changes from Fiscal Years 2013-2020 will be made over the course of several years to arrive at an optimally configured force in 2020.
Alternatives considered in the PEA evaluate the largest growth potential scenarios at installations that may occur from BCT restructuring, as well as the greatest force reduction scenarios that could occur as a result of Army force drawdown. The range of potential installation reduction and growth (ranging from maximum losses of 8,000 military personnel to maximum increases of 3,000 at the Army's largest installations) was chosen for the environmental analysis to provide flexibility as future force structure realignment decisions are made.
The PEA is designed to inform decision-makers of potential socioeconomic and environmental impacts associated with proposed actions as these stationing decisions are made in the coming years. The specific locations where changes will occur have not been decided.
Stationing sites that were included in the PEA are those sites that could experience a change in Soldiers and civilians that exceeds at total of plus or minus 1,000 military personnel. Sites considered in the PEA include: Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Irwin, Calif; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alask; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Lee, Va.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Polk, La.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii; and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Environmental impacts associated with implementation of alternatives evaluated in the PEA include impacts to air quality, airspace, cultural and biological resources, noise, soil erosion, wetlands, water resources, facilities, socioeconomic impact, energy demand, land use, hazardous materials and waste, and traffic and transportation. No significant environmental impacts are anticipated as a result of implementing either alternative associated with the proposed action, with the exception of socioeconomic impacts.
Socioeconomic impacts are of particular concern to the Army because they affect communities around Army installations. Therefore, the PEA has a comprehensive analysis of the socioeconomic impacts to inform the decision makers and communities. Impacts could include reduced employment, income, regional population, and sales and some of these impacts could be significant.
The completion of an environmental assessment results in one of two outcomes: either significant environmental impacts are identified and a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, is issued, or, no significant environmental impacts are identified and a FNSI is signed. Significant socioeconomic impacts alone do not require preparation of an EIS. The Army study finds that there are no significant environmental impacts with either alternative evaluated in the PEA; accordingly a draft FNSI has been prepared.
Final decisions as to which alternative to implement and which installations will see reductions or unit realignments have not yet been made. Those decisions will be made based on mission-related criteria and other factors in light of the information contained in the PEA.
Members of the public can review the PEA and draft FNSI and submit comments on the draft FNSI until Feb. 19. An electronic version of the PEA and draft FNSI will be available for download at: http://aec.army.mil/usaec/nepa/topics00.html.
Comments or questions on the PEA should be submitted to: Public Comments USAEC, Attn: IMPA-AE (Army 2020 PEA), 2450 Connell Road (Bldg 2264), Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664, or emailed to: USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil.
For questions or additional information about this PEA, please call (210) 466-1590 or email USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil.