Impact of new defense strategic review on Fort Hood uncertain
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On Thursday at the Pentagon, President Obama released the defense strategic review
which laid out the priorities for the country's armed forces.
Obama ordered the review last April, under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, as a way to look at America's missions and capabilities, as well as a way to examine the nation's “role in the changing world.”
This review comes as the Department of Defense is trying to find ways to reduce defense spending by $486 billion dollars over the next 10 years, required under the Budget Control Act.
"There is no question that we have to make some trade-offs," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said."We will be taking as a result of that, some level of additional but acceptable risk in the budget plan that we release next month. These are not easy choices."
That will include troop reduction as well as smaller conventional ground forces, which will be required to be more flexible and prepared to be deployed wherever the enemy exists.
"Our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States will maintain military superiority with Armed Forces that are agile, flexible, and are ready for the full range of contingencies and threats," President Obama said.
New priorities also include a strengthened presence in Asia.
The eight-page review did not include any details about how each military branch or specific military installation will be impacted.
Bill Parry is the executive director for the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance. The nonprofit group, which is based in Killeen works to promote Fort Hood's sustainability.
Parry said the strategic review did not include any surprises, but because of the lack of specifics included, he said it is impossible to know how Fort Hood will be affected under the guidelines set.
However, by looking at the list of primary missions set out for the armed forces, Fort Hood has several factors working in its favor.
"Those missions the armed forces were directed in this strategic review to accomplish, are the missions Fort Hood units have been doing for the last eight years," he said.
Among the 10 missions listed include, counter terrorism and irregular warfare to projecting power, and conducting stability and counterinsurgency operations.
Another factor Parry said which may work in Fort Hood's favor is cost efficiency. Back in 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission collected data on military installations to help with base closure and realignment process. Among the factors the commission considered was how much it cost for operations at each post, including training, housing and feeding troops.
The BRAC rated Fort Hood first among 97 other Army installations for future capability.
"In a period of declining resources and dollars the defense department and the Army will look to the most cost efficient installation so Fort Hood has that going for them," Parry said.
Once the defense budget for fiscal year 2013 is submitted next month there will be a better idea of how the defense cuts will break down.