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FAIRBANKS (AP) — Alaska’s two major Army posts could lose thousands of soldiers each to budget cuts.
However, the same Army environmental assessment report says the bases that will lose soldiers have not been chosen yet, and some bases might gain 1,000 people or more, according to Monday’s Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
The assessment lists different options for shrinking the Army from 562,000 to 490,000 soldiers by 2020.
One option would drop the number of the Army’s brigade combat teams, each with about 4,000 soldiers, from 45 to no more than 37. A second option is to cut a larger number of brigade combat teams and increase the size of some of the remaining brigade combat teams.
The report says if Fairbanks’ Fort Wainwright was chosen to lose its brigade combat team, it would reduce the base population by about 4,900 people. If Fort Richardson in Anchorage was chosen, it would lose about 4,300 people.
If either base kept its brigade combat team, the force might be supplemented by 1,000 people.
While the Army has not picked individual bases for reductions, it has chosen some places not to make cuts, according to the environmental assessment. The Army does not plan to cut all bases by a uniform amount, does not plan to send more soldiers to overseas bases and does not plan to further reduce staffing at those bases.
Alaska’s U.S. Senate delegation, which vocally opposed Air Force budget cuts that specifically mention Eielson Air Force Base, said Monday they’ll be watching the Army decisions closely.