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Army expected to announce cuts; could significantly affect Fort Polk, surrounding communities


FORT POLK, Louisiana — The Army is expected to announce cuts that could significantly affect Fort Polk and the surrounding communities.

The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/1HcJBO5 ) reports the announcement could come as early as Thursday.

Army officials, who are under a mandate to cut at least 40,000 troops and personnel, are considering cuts at 30 bases, including Fort Polk.

"At this point, we're not anticipating another delay," said Michael Reese, chairman of Fort Polk Progress. "There isn't much new we can say right now. We'll just have to wait and see what the announcement is."

The Army is under a mandate to reduce its force from 490,000 to 450,000. Army officials are considering cuts at 30 bases to meet the mandated reduction, including Fort Polk.

The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division is stationed at the Vernon Parish base. It's one of the BCTs targeted for potential elimination to meet the mandated personnel reduction.

If the 3/10 is cut, Fort Polk will lose about 6,500 of its military population of more than 10,000.

Local stakeholders have been optimistic for some time that Fort Polk has a good chance of retaining its BCT in this round of cuts. It's the potential cut after this that really scares them.

If the government fails to reach a budget deal and across-the-board spending cuts known as "sequestration" are triggered, the Army would be forced down to 420,000 troops or lower. Stakeholders see little chance that the 3/10 can survive that cut.

"We have pretty good confidence we'll come out of this next round OK," Reese said. "Our hope is that happens, then more action is taken by Congress on the budget and we can avoid sequestration."

Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com

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