Kansas Military Bases Spared Worst Of Military Cuts
A major reduction in military force will have a small impact on two Kansas bases.
Though the U.S. Department of Defense is expected to cut some 40,000 positions, only 675 will be at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley.
John Armbrust with the Governor’s Military Council says although Fort Riley is losing 615 soldiers, or roughly 3 percent of the uniformed force, it shouldn’t have a noticeable economic impact in either Manhattan or Junction City.
Kansas officials have lobbied to keep troop levels steady at Fort Riley.
“The other thing that affects a post like Fort Riley as opposed to Fort Leavenworth is a lot of units here deploy,” Armbrust says. “The number of authorized soldiers at Fort Riley versus the number that are actually at Fort Riley on a given day, there’s always a gap. It may be as much as 2,000 or 3,000 or more.”
Armbrust says reductions in the military’s civilian workforce will likely have a bigger impact in Gary and Riley counties, where up to 50 percent of residents are in some way connected to the armed services. Those cuts haven’t been announced yet.
Armbrust says even with the reductions, Fort Riley will in 2017 house 3.3 percent of U.S. Army soldiers, up from 2 percent a decade and a half ago. He says that signals the importance of Kansas military installations to the organization as a whole.
“So actually over this period while the Army is downsizing, Fort Riley has downsized less than the Army overall,” Armbrust says. “I think that sends a message that Fort Riley is very important to the Army.”
In Missouri, Fort Leonard Wood will lose about 774 troop positions, or about 14 percent of the uniformed force.