The Buzz

Fort Leonard Wood faces 14 percent cut; other regional bases not hit as hard

Basic training at Fort Leonard Wood
Basic training at Fort Leonard Wood Star file photo

Sens. Jerry Moran, Roy Blunt, and Claire McCaskill said Thursday that Kansas and Missouri have largely been spared dramatic cuts in the military presence in the two states.

The Defense Department is expected to announce major troop reductions this week — 40,000 troops will be cut by 2017, CNN reported. But Moran said Thursday he’s been told Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth will be spared major reductions in force in Kansas. Missouri’s Ft. Leonard Wood will see about a 10 percent force reduction.

Fort Riley will lose 615 troop positions, Moran said. The base currently holds 18,000 soldiers, a brochure from the base says.

Fort Leavenworth will lose 60 positions.

“Unfortunately, constrained defense spending has forced the Army to make difficult decisions,” Moran’s statement said. “However, it is evident the Army understands the contributions Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley make to our national security given the minimal reduction of Kansas soldiers.”

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins said she opposes military personnel cuts. “While any reduction will hurt, and I continue to believe they are severely misguided, the limited impact at our military installations in Kansas compared to other facilities are a testament to the strength, mission, and critical role those at Ft. Leavenworth and Ft. Riley have in defending our nation,” she said.

Fort Leonard Wood will lose 774 troops, the Missouri senators said. That’s about 14 percent of current uniformed personnel.

“This is a challenging announcement for the Fort Leonard Wood community, but we remain committed in our support for the fort,” the senators said. U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler also took part in the statement.

Officials in Kansas — particularly in Manhattan and Junction City — have lobbied the Army for some time to keep Ft. Riley intact.