Prospect of Further Army Downsizing Generates Massive Public Response

defensecommunitiesArmy Environmental Command (AEC) has received tens of thousands of public comments to the service’s assessment of the environmental and economic impacts from shrinking its active-duty end strength to 420,000 troops by 2020, far surpassing the response last year to the analysis prepared for a previous round of cuts.

As of last Wednesday, the command had received more than 40,000 public comments from supporters of the 30 installations included in the supplemental programmatic environmental assessment (PEA), with additional deliveries yet to be counted. The deadline for submitting comments was Aug. 25.

“We expect to receive boxes, packages and envelopes of comments for up to 10 days after the comment period ends still postmarked by the deadline,” spokeswoman Cathy Kropp told Defense Communities 360.
By the end of the week, AEC had received more than 57,000 comments with more boxes remaining to be counted, reported the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

AEC received a total of only 8,000 comments last year to the assessment conducted before the Army decided how
to realign forces as it eliminated 10 brigade combat teams in the continental United States to shrink the size of its force to 490,000, Kropp said via e-mail.

Communities neighboring Fort Polk, La., Fort Knox, Ky., and Fort Jackson, S.C., have sent in more than 10,000 comments each, she said, exceeding the total received for all 21 installations included in the analysis last year.

“I expect it’ll take us until next Thursday or Friday [Sept. 4 or 5] to get anywhere close to the end of processing the comments,” Kropp said.

The supplemental PEA is a precursor to a military value analysis needed to determine how actual cuts will be allocated.

For more information visit Association of Defense Communities.

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