The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 required the Department of Defense (DOD) to reduce its budget by $487 billion.

To meet its share of the budget reduction, the Department of Army (DOA) elected to reduce its active force from 562,000 soldiers to 490,000 and completed a programmatic study to realign its forces under this reduced end strength. A reduction of 8,000 soldiers at Schofield Barracks was among the actions proposed; however, Schofield Barracks was spared of any loss.

The BCA also calls for additional budget cuts under sequestration, which will require DOD to reduce its budget by an additional $500 billion. Accordingly, the Army is completing a supplemental study that will further reduce its end strength to 420,000 soldiers. Options being considered to realign its forces to meet this new end strength include a proposal to cut 16,000 active duty military and Army civilian positions from Schofield Barracks and nearly 4,000 from Ft Shafter. Added to these cuts would be an estimated 30,000 family members, bringing the total potential population loss to nearly 50,000 active duty military, Army civilians and family members.

The economic impact is estimated to result in losses of $1.35 billion in income and $9.2 million in sales tax receipts. This would have serious impact on Hawaii’s economy, and be particularly devastating to communities surrounding Schofield Barracks/Wheeler and Ft Shafter.

Representatives of the Chamber’s Military Affairs Council (MAC) met with State Representative Marcus Oshiro (D-46 -Wahiawa/Whitmore Village) to discuss the impacts of the Army’s realignment study and the importance of meeting with command officials on Schofield Barracks.

It is also imperative that state and county officials, residents, business owners, school officials and other community members participate in a letter writing campaign to document the serious impacts anticipated on local communities and urge DOA officials to retain the Army units based at Schofield Barracks/Wheeler and Ft. Shafter.

The Chamber encourages a flood of community responses as DOA officials will review and evaluate all letters received on behalf of impacted communities. All comments need to be mailed by August 24, 2014 to the following address:

U.S. Army Environmental Command

ATTN:  SPEA Public Comments

2450 Connell Road (Building 2264)

Joint Base San Antonio-Ft Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664

Or email comments to:  usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil

The DOA also plans to conduct “listening sessions” to receive public inputs before making final decisions. This could occur in October or later, hopefully, after the general elections. We will share information on the “listening sessions” when received from DOA.