(NASHVILLE) — The Tennessee Senate adopted a resolution sponsored by Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) on Thursday urging Congress to oppose any measure that would reduce current troop levels at Fort Campbell. Senate Joint Resolution 23 comes after a recent U.S. Army Environmental Command report showed that a reduction of 140,000 troops, plus associated civilian reductions, would be needed in order to achieve the savings required by the Budget Control Act if sequester cuts to the defense budget are reinstated. That action would affect approximately 7,000 troops at Fort Campbell, representing a 22 percent reduction, with a possible decrease of more than 15,000 active duty troops by 2020.
“The United States military’s consideration of cutting force structure at Fort Campbell makes no strategic sense for the safety of this nation,” said Senator Green, a former Army Special Operation Flight Surgeon. “Currently, the United States Army is at its Pre-Gulf War levels of 490,000 troops at a time when we are decisively engaged in combat in Afghanistan and have soldiers in Iraq that are engaged in combatting ISIS. This resolution expresses Tennessee’s strong opposition to further reductions in our troop strength.”
Fort Campbell sustained cuts last year, with the reductions made in the 159th Aviation Brigade.
“These cuts would skeletonize units in order to maintain some infrastructure,” he continued. “We’re basically just dismantling the United States Army in order to save money.”
The resolution reiterates the economic impact of troop reduction on the Fort Campbell region with the yearly income expected to fall by 7.7 percent or $986.6 million and an estimated population loss of over 58,000. Fort Campbell is the region’s biggest economic driver, with an overall annual impact of $4.4 billion. Other effects of the reduction listed by the resolution include the possible closure of ten schools, as private sector jobs would be lost in construction, real estate, and education. This is “in addition to the military and civilian post-based job losses that could force individuals and their families to relocate to find employment,” the resolution states.
Green added, “If you took every single automotive company in the state of Tennessee and added them together, their economic impact would not be as large as Fort Campbell’s. Any loss of soldiers is devastating to the economic well-being of our community.”
“But there’s a more important reason for this resolution,” he continued. “It is the strategic impact on our nation. We’re cutting our force structure at a time when we’re decisively engaged; the world is far more complex and violent than it was pre-Gulf War. These cuts are devastating to our national security. That is why our General Assembly, as a body, is asking Congress to intervene on behalf of the citizens of Tennessee, and the citizens of this great nation.”
The resolution now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.