WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator David Vitter and Congressman John Fleming, M.D., released the following statement about the U.S. Army’s announcement that force restructuring will result in a minimal force reduction at Fort Polk:
“The Army’s announcement today shows how important Fork Polk is and how it will continue to be among the premier training grounds shaping our nation’s military forces,” said Vitter. “Fort Polk’s forces and the Joint Readiness Training Center are huge priorities both for our national security and for communities throughout Louisiana, and making sure that our troops at Fort Polk have the support they need will remain among my top priorities on the Armed Services Committee. The announcement today and confirmation I received from the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, General John Campbell, make it clear that Fort Polk forces and the community involvement shown during the Army Listening session are incredibly important and will continue to play a vital role within the Department of Defense moving forward.”
“The troops at Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center are vital and contribute enormously to our national security,” said Fleming. “I contacted the Secretary of the Army about the importance of Fort Polk when I was first alerted that force restructuring could reduce its troops by more than 5,000. The communities around Fort Polk rallied in memorable fashion and together we convinced the Army of Fort Polk’s full array of resources. Restructuring will only entail a reduction of less than 250 troops. It’s clear that our concerted message of support was heard. Nationwide, the Army is reducing its uniformed personnel by 14%, but at Fort Polk that will be about three percent. In this day of greatly reduced defense budgets, this is clearly a strong sign of Fort Polk's importance and the value of teamwork in demonstrating it. I will continue to make the case for increasing that investment at every opportunity I have.”
Vitter included language into the FY14 National Defense Authorization that ensures that the Army force structure and stationing decisions use the proper methodology to maximize existing resources, including facilities related to Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) activities, based on their stated support for Fort Polk’s viability before any decisions on reductions are made. Click here to find the Army force structure language.
Earlier this year, Vitter was able to get Army officials to agree to be transparent and state that there is little direct benefit from moving the 4-10 Mountain BCT out of Fort Polk to be co-located with its Division headquarters due to proximity. Click here to watch Senator Vitter’s questions.