Asking for your support for U.S. Army recommendations to reduce Army personnel on Oahu by 19,800 and return of key bases to the State of Hawai'i: Schofield, Wheeler, Makua, Dillingham, & Kolekole Road.
We the undersigned support Army downsizing and support the full 19,800 person troop reduction planned for Hawai’i.
Recently the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Quadrennial Defense Review for 2014 (QDR 2014). DoD releases a QDR every four years as a way of articulating its strategic direction and providing end strength and force structure decisions for the Services to implement over a fixed period of time. The DoD is facing ever-increasing fiscal challenges and is unable to sustain itself at current and future levels of funding projected by the Congress. In the case of the Army, QDR 2014 calls for a reduction of as many as 130,000 active duty Army soldiers worldwide. To meet this fiscally constrained personnel cap the Army identified bases within 19 states to absorb these cuts — Hawai'i is one of the States on the Army’s cut list. Bases in Hawai'i now being considered by the Army to meet these cuts include Schofield Barracks (16,000) and Fort Shafter (3,800). The impacts of these cuts are significant, but the members of the Oahu Council for Army Downsizing (OCAD) see most of these as positive impacts that will greatly improve the quality of life for Hawai'i’s people.
The OCAD supports and actively advocates for the downsizing of Army Forces on Oahu. The OCAD does not consider the bulk of the Army’s forces on Oahu to be strategically located since these forces do not have readily available airlift or sealift to support their transport to anywhere in the Pacific as quickly as may be needed. Moreover, the OCAD believes the Army on Oahu lacks critically needed ‘forced entry’ capability to allow it to enter hostile environments, a capability already possessed by the US Marines presently on Oahu and throughout the Pacific. The OCAD believes taxpayers cannot afford to pay for redundant forces competing to do the same job and redundant, geographically isolated forces occupying critical lands and consuming valuable resources that are important to the State of Hawai'i and the Hawaiian community.
The OCAD wants the people of Hawai'i and Oahu to understand the benefits that can occur if the Army is downsized in the quantities proposed by DoD. The OCAD believes the cuts proposed should occur in the near term and that the following bases and geographic areas be returned to the State of Hawai'i: Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield, Makua Valley, Dillingham Military Reservation, and Kolekole pass with unimpeded access on Lualualei Naval Road.
The OCAD believes the DoD’s recommendation for cuts provides a ”once-in-a-century” opportunity for Hawai'i. If military forces on Oahu are not cut during this round of force structure cuts, then nothing will change on Oahu militarily — there will never be another round of cuts like this for Hawai'i in any of our lifetimes.
The worst case scenario would be for Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation to naively negotiate a compromise deal with other State Legislators to reduce the projected personnel cuts on Oahu (i.e. only 10,000 cuts versus 19,800) because any cuts smaller than what is proposed by the Army will allow the Army to retain its current facilities on Oahu at the status quo — resulting in NO LONGTERM BENEFITS FOR THE PEOPLE OF HAWAI'I.
This petition will be submitted to the Army during the listening sessions held in Hawai'i.
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