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Fort Rucker Adds 300 Active Duty Soldiers

By: AL.com
By: AL.com

Fort Rucker will see an increase in the number of soldier stationed at the southeast Alabama installation, even as the Army is reducing its force structure by 80,000.

Fort Rucker officials said they expect to see the number of service members stationed there to grow by 300 active duty soldiers by 2019. The installation is currently home to almost 3,000 active duty soldiers. The number of Department of Army civilians is not expected to change.

The changes are the result of a massive force restructuring Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno describes as the "largest organizational change...since World War II." The reductions are part of the effort to reconcile expenses with the Budget Control Act of 2011, which requires cuts of $487 billion over the next decade. The Army's share of those cuts is $170 billion.

These changes predate sequestration, which could take an additional $500 billion from the Department of Defense over the next 10 years.

The reorganization includes dissolving 12 Brigade Combat Teams at 10 installations and reorganizing others, leading to growth at some installations like Fort Rucker. BCTs have as many as 3,500 soldiers each, though the due to transfers and other changes, actual cuts per installation will be much less.

In the case of Fort Bliss, the deactivated team has 3,500 soldiers, according to the Albuquerque Journal. However, due to reassignments, the actual net loss will be about 750 soldiers. Similarly, The Denver Post reports the net loss of a BCT at Fort Carson will lower its overall number by about 700 soldiers.

According to Odierno, the changes come after a review of environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the reductions at the installations. Criteria for the change included training resources, deployment infrastructure, capability to support soldiers and families and ability to transports troops and equipment rapidly to air and sea port locations.

The changes are designed to reduce the number of headquarters while sustaining combat capability.

"As we inactivate brigade combat teams, we will reinvest some of the soldiers, equipment and support personnel into the remaining brigade combat teams," he said.

As part of the changes, the Army will reduce its ranks from a wartime high of 570,000 to 490,000. The Army National Guard will drop from 358,000 to 350,000, while the Army Reserve is delaying plans for a 1,000 force increase and will remain at 205,000.


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