Ft. Leonard Wood organization prepares to make case to U.S. Army
FORT LEONARD WOOD - Fort Leonard Wood and the surrounding area is coming together to oppose the U.S. Army's proposal to eliminate 5,400 positions at the army installation.
The proposal is a part of the Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment, a plan designed to outline a reduction in active Army forces from 562,000 to 490,000.
"This affects installations all around the country and the world," said Joe Driskill, director of the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership.
The jobs have not been cut yet, but are on the chopping block according to Driskill.
The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership is working with Fort Leonard Wood to prepare a community listening session scheduled for March 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the fort in Nutter Field House.
According to Driskill, if the 5,400 jobs were cut, impact on the region would be serious.
Driskill said the annual income would decrease by $300,000 million and about 13,400 people could potentially leave the region.
At the community listening session, Driskill plans to make a case to the U.S. Army not to cut jobs.
"We have good data, and we'll make that good case," he said.
Driskill said he visited similar listening sessions at forts in Oklahoma and Kansas to learn from their best practices.
"We've found it impactful to have elected officials attend," Driskill said.
The organization is contacting Missouri lawmakers at both the federal and state level, asking them to attend.
The listening session will focus on cost effectiveness, quality and sustainability.
"We have quality education, good transportation and low housing compared to similar installations," Driskill said.
According to Driskill, Fort Leonard Wood and the surrounding community sent about 4,900 letters in August to army officials expressing their views about the potential lay offs.