Based on Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s Feb. 24 announcement regarding an Army end-strength of 450,000-440,000 and the potential of going as low as 420,000 if sequestration returns in 2016, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell recently held a media roundtable to discuss the need for a supplemental Programmatic Environment Assessment. It’s a non-decisional study that considers the effects of personnel changes at installations across the Army to determine the impact of potential reductions toachieve those end-strengths.
Fort Stewart will be listed as one of the installations where data and comments will be collected for the supplemental study. Fort Stewart and 20 other installations were assessed in the initial 2013 PEA. This year’s supplemental study includes those 21 installations and an additional nine.
According to a news release on the matter from Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson, installation officials at this time do not believe Hunter Army Airfield will be considered in this study.
The results of the previous environmental study in January 2013 were considered before the decision was made to deactivate the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team.
The supplemental study does not address any specific units. Once it is released for public comment, however, the study will include a worst-case scenario number of soldiers and Army civilians who could be cut from Fort Stewart. The release and public-comment dates have not yet been determined.
Once the supplemental PEA is released, the Army will accept comments from the public for a minimum of 30 days and consider them before making a final decision on whether there are significant environmental impacts associated the potential loss of soldiers and Army civilians.