WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is slashing the number of combat brigades from 45 to 33, and shifting thousands of soldiers out of bases around the country as it moves forward with the long-planned move to cut the size of the service by 80,000.
That means Fort Knox will be cut by 3,300 soldiers by 2019, The Courier-Journal reports. Fort Knox had 7,667 in 2012.
Officials say the massive restructuring plans would eliminate brigades at 10 Army bases in the U.S. by 2017, including in Texas, Kentucky, Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Kansas and Washington. The Army will also cut thousands of other jobs across the service, including soldiers in units that support the brigades.
Officials provided details on the plans on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The Army is being reduced from a high of about 570,000 during the Iraq war to 490,000.
Update: Here’s a statement from Gov. Steve Beshear:
“I am deeply disappointed by the news of the Department of Defense’s planned inactivation of the Third Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division currently located at Ft. Knox. This decision will likely remove nearly 10,000 military employees and dependents from the area, which will have a profound economic impact not only on Ft. Knox, but the surrounding region as well.
While I understand that the Departments of the Army and Defense must adjust to the current budget realities, this decision seems to focus on shorter term savings at the expense of longer term readiness. Fort Knox is a proven, premier location to station, train and deploy an Infantry Brigade Combat Team. We are surprised by the Army’s decision to inactivate this well-positioned brigade, particularly because DOD has invested more than $500 million in military construction to support the brigade and provide quality of life for soldiers and families since locating the brigade here in 2009.
Because of the sizable infrastructure already in place, as well as Ft. Knox’s central location and proven capacity for adaptation, I call on the DOD to consider Ft. Knox as it considers future savings and efficiency measures.
Building joint capabilities in the areas of recruiting and human resources is an obvious avenue to efficiency. Fort Knox is a vital component in the Army’s portfolio of installations, and clearly, the functions there must be leveraged to the fullest extent possible.
Kentucky will always act decisively in support of our military. The Commonwealth continues to stand ready to assist and partner with DOD and the Army in solving the complex problems that face us all.”