The Department of the Army: Grow Fort Polk
  • Petitioned The Department of the Army
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

Public Comments USAEC
The Department of the Army
Louisiana Governor
President of the United States
Louisiana State House
Louisiana State Senate
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
Louisiana-026
State Rep. Herbert Dixon
Louisiana-02
Rep. Cedric Richmond
Texas
Sen. John Cornyn
Arkansas
Sen. John Boozman
Louisiana-030
State Sen. John Smith
Louisiana
Gov. Bobby Jindal
Louisiana-024
State Rep. Frank Howard
Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz
Louisiana-030
State Rep. James Armes
See response
Louisiana-04
Rep. John Fleming
Louisiana-06
Rep. Bill Cassidy
Louisiana-01
Rep. Steve Scalise
Louisiana-032
State Rep. Dorothy Hill
Louisiana-03
Rep. Charles Boustany
Louisiana
Sen. Mary Landrieu
Louisiana
Sen. David Vitter
Arkansas
Sen. Mark Pryor
Texas-02
Rep. Ted Poe
Texas-01
Rep. Louie Gohmert
Louisiana-05
Rep. Vance McAllister

The Department of the Army: Grow Fort Polk

    1. Petition by

      Fort Polk Progress and Let's Grow Vernon

People throughout the country should care about the Department of the Army’s decision concerning troop strength at Fort Polk because Fort Polk represents the Army’s best opportunity to achieve the best training for the lowest price. The nation as a whole deserves well-trained soldiers to defend it. These economic times demand that those soldiers be trained in the most cost-effective way possible.

According to Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff for the Army, Fort Polk offers just that: the best possible training with the least amount of cost than any other base in the country.

Fort Polk is uniquely situated, more so than any other Army base in the country, to not only grow but to accommodate a variety of training and power projection that is essential for our military to continue to be a force of strength in defending democracy on the world stage. Please consider, as Louisiana's Congressional Delegation has pointed out, that recent federal spending at Fort Polk has made the base ready to host additional battalions without imposing more costs on the Army.

In addition, the base has recently acquired more land in an effort to meet one of the Army’s most urgent needs for additional training lands.

The synergy between operational facilities at Fort Polk and England Airpark provides Fort Polk with unmatched rapid deployment and power projection capabilities, while the potential cost savings of having a Brigade Combat Team permanently garrisoned at Fort Polk and the lower cost of living afforded by Vernon, Beauregard and Rapides parishes for troops and civilian workers should be taken into account as the Department of the Army moves forward in fiscal responsibility under current budget restraints.

People throughout the state of Louisiana should care about the Department of the Army’s decisions concerning Fort Polk because Fort Polk’s economic impact to the state for 2012 will likely approach $1.8 billion. Fort Polk is the largest employer and largest single economic driver in the state. A troop reduction would cost thousands of jobs and significantly impact the state’s economy, producing a ripple effect throughout the region and into the neighboring states of Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.

In addition, these states’ National Guards and Reserves have a vested interest in Fort Polk, which provides training facilities for all of the nation’s military.

The people of Central Louisiana should care about the Department of the Army’s decision because communities large and small, including Leesville, DeRidder, Alexandria, Lafayette and Lake Charles in Louisiana and Hemphill, Newton and Jasper in Texas, as well as the innumerable small towns in between have all made investments in infrastructure to accommodate growth at Fort Polk.

All have aggressively pursued addressing every deficiency that the Army commanders have pointed out concerning the surrounding communities, striving to meet the Army’s request that the communities provide social needs for soldiers, including housing, so that the Army can focus on preparing for war.

When the Department of the Army wanted improved schools, Vernon Parish borrowed the money and passed a tax issue to fix it.

When the Department of the Army wanted better roads, Vernon Parish and Rapides Parish worked with the state to improve 184, 469, 28 and now 171.

When the Department of the Army wanted more land, Vernon Parish became their biggest advocate, traveling to see landowners and helping the Army create the only successful land purchase program in the country, effectively creating more precious training maneuverability for the Army.

When the Department of the Army needed a plan to accommodate troop growth, Vernon Parish conducted the research, partnered with the state for funding, and implemented a plan.

Now, the Army seeks to potentially destroy the good will it fostered and bankrupt communities that agreed to invest with highly leveraged dollars in every investment they asked for off base.

Because of a lack of other industry base, cuts at Fort Polk have a far greater negative economic impact on our state and our region than cuts being contemplating at bases elsewhere in the country. The effects are disproportionate to the investments the communities have poured into Fort Polk.

Therefore, growing Fort Polk by adding another Brigade Combat Team is the best solution for not only the communities surrounding Fort Polk, but also the State of Louisiana and the nation as a whole.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Fort Polk is being threatened again and we need your help!

      In case you haven't heard, Fort Polk is once again being threatened with a troop reduction, this time by approximately 6,500 troops.

      Fort Polk Progress encourages everyone to visit www.fortpolkprogress.com, click on the "Click Here to Save Fort Polk" button and follow the steps provided there for responding to the Department of the Army by August 25.

      A sample form letter, a link to a new online petition, and sample posts for a social media campaign are available on the website for anyone to use in order to respond personally and to spread the word and urge others to respond.

      Fort Polk Progress urges elected officials to share the information with their constituents and other groups, suggesting that they arrange drop-off points for signed letters that can be mailed in sets periodically throughout the commenting period.

      In addition, Fort Polk Progress strongly recommends that elected officials write their own letters, issue proclamations and/or pass resolutions in support of growth at Fort Polk and to send these documents as part of the collected comments.

      Comments about force structure at Fort Polk should be sent via email to:

      USARMY.JBSA.AEC.NEPA@MAIL.MIL

      or through the U.S. Postal Service to:

      U.S. Army Environmental Command
      ATTN: SPEA Public Comments
      2450 Connell Road (Building 2264)
      Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664

      Comments can also be made by calling toll free: 855-846-3940.

      Fort Polk Progress has issued a call to action to elected officials and residents throughout Louisiana and East Texas to respond in force to the Army's Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment released June 26 which analyses the effects of a possible reduction in force by as much as 6,500 troops at Fort Polk.

      Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese explained that the situation this year is more dire and will require more effort to overcome than last year's, with a draw down that is unprecedented in length of time and scope.

      "My analysis is that all the easy cuts are now gone," he said, indicating that Fort Polk, though it escaped significant cuts last year thanks in large part to the outpouring of public response, will be looked at much more carefully for possible cuts this year. Any draw down of troops will create reverberations and impact all of the services offered at Fort Polk, from the hospital to the Post Exchange to veterans services.

      Reese said that Fort Polk Progress would directly address the Department of the Army concerning the SPEA. However, that technical response, he said, carries much more weight with a large public response, which he said he hopes will be dramatically larger than last year's.

      "Nothing matters if the public doesn't respond," he said.

    2. Fort Polk Progress to host Department of Army for Community Meeting

      After more than 4,300 people from across the nation submitted comments to the Department of the Army concerning troop reductions at Fort Polk, Army officials have scheduled a Community Listening Meeting for 5 p.m. Monday, April 15 at the United Pentecostal Church in Leesville.
      Fort Polk Progress urges every person with the least interest in Fort Polk to attend the meeting.
      This will be our last opportunity to engage the Army publicly before a final decision concerning the future of Fort Polk is made. This has to be big. This has to be powerful. This is our last chance to make an impression on the decision makers about the future of this base.
      We hope to not only line the streets with Fort Polk supporters but to also fill the church with those who have invested their lives into making Fort Polk the best hometown in the Army.
      Call Tammy Sharp at 337-378-9329 for more information or to arrange for your organization to attend.

      Greater Beauregard Parish Chamber of Commerce

      An organization of businesses and individuals united to imporve teh community in which we work and live.

    3. Decision-maker Sharon Broome responds:

      Sharon Broome

      I support this effort.


    4. Reached 1,500 signatures
    5. Petition surpasses 1,000; FPP secures meeting with decision makers

      Today, we surpassed 1,000 signatures on the petition to grow Fort Polk.
      Fort Polk Progress has also secured a meeting in Washington with key decision makers for early next week. We will let you know the outcome of that meeting.
      A public meeting is set for 2-4 p.m. Friday, March 8 at the War Memorial Civic Center located at 250 W. 7th Street in DeRidder to hear updates and gather information on the proposed Army Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Fort Polk. Letters of comment will be available for area residents to sign.
      Fort Polk Progress has also begun the tedious process of gathering the correct information concerning Fort Polk and its value to the military. This information will be presented to the Department of the Army before the March 21 deadline.
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    6. Reached 1,000 signatures
    7. Decision-maker James Armes responds:

      James Armes

      W
      Response to Troop Reduction at Fork Polk
      Louisiana House of Representatives
      James Armes, State Representative

      Thursday, February 14, 2013 • Contact: Glen Duncan (225) 342-9795

      Troop reduction will have tremendous impact
      ...


    8. Reached 100 signatures

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