Fort Polk is uniquely situated to grow and accommodate a variety of new missions at a lower cost than any other base in the nation, providing our nation with the most cost-effective means of training soldiers and securing our country from threats.
It is also clear that a cut of troops at Fort Polk would have a debilitating economic impact that would reverberate throughout the whole state of Louisiana and on into East Texas.
I urge the Department of the Army to avoid making any further cuts at Fort Polk. 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 new missions. The community is and has always been a key partner with the Army; today we are again being asked to sacrifice in order to increase the size of Fort Polk’s training space, through the Army’s land acquisition program.
I understand that the Army must make tough choices and appreciate that they are considering reductions at additional non-BCT installations in this round of cuts. When you consider the cost of doing business at each installation under review, it becomes clear that Fort Polk is not the right place to make cuts. If the Army is concerned about cost and budgets, I urge you to do business and station your soldiers at Fort Polk, where costs are lower.
The Army must recognize in making its force structure decisions that the fabric of our community revolves around Fort Polk. Reductions at Fort Polk directly affect our economy, schools, and municipal services. Cuts at Fort Polk also directly affect the many veterans who call our region home for the benefits they find at Fort Polk. Many other veterans travel to Fort Polk from all over Central and Southwest Louisiana and East Texas to realize their benefits at the clinic, the hospital and at on-base shopping venues.
The communities around Fort Polk have experienced and had to endure the boom and bust cycles of Army force structure changes at the installation for too long; I believe a stable and reasonably-sized force, consistent with the contingent of soldiers at Fort Polk today, will sustain and encourage a prosperous and high quality of life for our soldiers, their families and our veterans and will honor and respect the tremendous partnership our community and the Army have built together.