Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: 'Army' (266) Currently Viewing: 61 - 70 of 266

July 30, 2014 at 7:16am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Cold War-ish, Fortune Guard, Al Qaeda kidnap biz, Army maritime aviation, London Batman ...

The 124th Fighter Wing throw practice coffee pots during Operation Kriegshammer, a joint training mission at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Bavaria, Germany. Original photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.30.14 >>>

Protective Edge vs. Cast Lead at Day 22: Fourfold hike in Israelis fatalities, slight drop in Palestinians killed, huge surge in Gaza-launched rockets, IDF artillery fire. ...

Congressional Republicans want to force Democrats into voting on a stand-alone measure to send $225 million in emergency funds to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

President Barack Obama escalated U.S. sanctions against Russia but dismissed suggestions the growing chill marked the start of a new Cold War

The PentagonRussia was supplying Ukraine air defense systems similar to the one that brought down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17

Veterans bill: A $17 billion bill to revamp the Veterans Affairs Department appears likely to clear both the House and Senate this week.

U.S. Pacific Command is hosting personnel from 31 nations as part of the proliferation security initiative Exercise Fortune Guard.

PACOM chief: U.S. not worried about Chinese intel ship off Hawaiian coast.

Aloha: Japan is practicing storming beaches with the U.S. at the world's largest maritime exercises.

A bitterly divided House panel voted to condemn Obama for the swap of five Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Next Week: Investigators will look into if Bergdahl deserted his Army post in 2009.

Paying Ransom: Kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe.

In Iraq's Mosul, resistance rises from the rubble of destroyed shrines.

A longtime defense analyst and critic of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program says taxpayers next year will pay between $148 million and $337 million per jet, depending on the model.

Army Maritime Aviation: It's real.

Jesse Ventura vs. Chris Kyle: The former WWE wrestler got $1.8 million after he convinced a jury that Navy SEAL Kyle defamed him in American Sniper.

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. just unveiled its new LC9s pistol, a striker-fired version of its compact, LC9 9mm pistol.

How Game of Thrones will predict the next bin Laden.

Don't watch this if you're going to freak out about your life choices.

How a desert cat uses its super ears to hunt birds in mid-flight.

Watch Beck's new music video.

Larry King interviewed "Weird Al" Yankovic.

London Batman is pretty entertaining.

Hmmmm, will this last?

LINK: Original photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht

July 29, 2014 at 7:24am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Israel's tunnel robots, Boeing KC-46A troubles, soldiers vs services, Shark Week donut ...

Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), throw a practice coffee pot during a grenade qualification range at Fort Campbell, Ky. Original photo by 1st Lt. Joseph Riedel

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.29.14 >>>

Israel's military pounded targets in the Gaza Strip after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country should prepare for a long conflict in the Palestinian enclave. 

Israel debuted a locally developed micro robot in its ongoing onslaught against the labyrinth of tunnels and concealed shafts supporting subterranean arms depots, command posts and cross-border attacks from Gaza.

Obama administration accused Russia of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time.

Interviews with American officials, diplomats in Kiev, and Russian military analysts paint a picture of a steady and ongoing flow of weapons from Russia into Ukraine.

Afghanistandstill: A specially trained and equipped Afghan Army quick reaction force is in danger of having its vehicles fall into disrepair, and its soldiers miss out on training due to an inability to supply much-need spare parts and training.

Caliphate in Iraq and Syria: It's richer, better armed, more durable - and dangerous - than ever before.

Dreaded national-security threat scenarios: A panel of experts discussed the specter of terrorists armed with nuclear, biological, chemical or other weapons of mass destruction during a panel discussion at the Aspen Security Forum.

House, Senate committee reaches compromise to reform the VA - a $17 billion deal sewn together from bills passed by both chambers.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said a new Government Accountability Office report shows that thousands of Department of Defense employees and contractors owe the government more than $700 million in taxes.

In addition to running mobilization sites, First U.S. Army has been given the mission of focusing on pre-mobilization training of the National Guard and Army Reserve.

Gen. Daniel B. Allyn has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next vice chief of staff of the Army.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced the Senate would vote on the confirmation of Robert McDonald to be Veterans Affairs Secretary at 2:45 p.m. today.

The surprise disclosure of a wiring flaw on the Air Force's new KC-46A refueling tanker made by Boeing Co. may not be the end of the program's development challenges.

Thank you for your service: How one company sues soldiers worldwide.

Servicemembers are increasingly reporting delays associated with the shipment of their cars between stateside and overseas.

Schools known for their flexible learning options are by far the most popular among both active-duty servicemembers using tuition assistance and veterans and their dependents using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, government data show.

Veteran Rock City: Kiss hired two military vets to work as roadies for their 2014 tour.

Two new mysterious giant holes found in Siberia, scientists puzzled.

A lot of work went into the incredible title sequence.

Insane boy leaps off a five-story building into a pool several feet away.

Karen O has released the first music video for a song off her solo album.

Watch the trailer for Horns, in which Daniel Radcliffe plays a man who wakes up and finds horns growing from his head.

Here's a great video about the music scene in Athens, Ga.

NPR has launched a new app

Here's a roundup of The Simpsons' best chalkboard gags.

Finally: Dunkin Donuts' Shark Week donut.

Hobbits!

LINK: Original photo by 1st Lt. Joseph Riedel, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment

July 28, 2014 at 12:21pm

Joint Base Lewis-McChord nerds and geeks unite!

8-bit hoo-ah!

Sure, there are spouses groups for Joint Base Lewis-McChord husbands and wives looking to integrate into the local community, make friends or learn more about how to navigate within the military world. There are resources galore, and yet sometimes spouses may want to connect and get together over a different topic than military resources. Spouses may simply want to get together and talk about shared interests - especially if those shared interests are something that maybe not everyone out there relates to.

For this exact reason, Monica Rice blazed a new trail and recently formed her own group - the JBLM Geeky/Nerdy Spouses, a Facebook group open to spouses of both genders so long as they identify as geeky and/or nerdy. After spending some time with the general spouse groups, she thought others out there might want to connect on all things geeky like she did.

"I'm still pretty new to the military lifestyle and haven't made many friends with spouses," says Rice. "Also, because of my passion in computers and programming, I don't have many lady friends with those same interests. I knew I couldn't have been the only woman with what I think are pretty niche hobbies, so I wanted to reach out while simultaneously forming a small network wherein all members could talk about their favorite passions without feeling like an oddity."

Read more...

July 28, 2014 at 7:08am

Monday Morning Joe: Congress VA deal, drone traffic jam, spy satellite upgrade, Spider-Man punches cop ...

Headquarters Company 34th Combat Aviation Brigade throw practice coffee pots from the standing position at Camp Ripley, Minn. Original photo by Spc. Jess Nemec

GRAB THE COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.28.14 >>>

House and Senate lawmakers will announce an agreement on veterans' legislation during a press conference today.

North Korea defies U.N. censure to fire missile into sea.

As fighting abates in the Gaza Strip for now, the road forward to a more durable ceasefire will be rocky at best

The Obama administration has quietly moved an additional 62 advisers to Iraq over the past three weeks.

Possibility for another volley exists: U.S., Iranian drones crowd Iraqi air space.

The U.S. Air Force will soon have new spy satellite capability that will provide oversight over other objects in space.

What a war in Europe really looks like: Headless body in the street, bombed summer cottages, gunmen at the morgue ...

U.S.-supplied weapons vulnerable after Afghanistan withdrawal.

The New York Times: It's putting its weight behind a bill that will be introduced in the Senate this week to rein in the National Security Agency.

Republican lawmakers are challenging Obama over a plan to expand the use of bases to house illegal immigrant children.

Rough ride for the F-35: Congress is still pouring money into a program that is intended to produce more than 2,400 F-35s for the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines through 2037.

The Marine Corps needs 38 amphibious assault ships for crisis-response missions, but will likely have to settle for 33.

The U.S. Air Force missileers to work with Navy in morale-improvement effort.

Court: U.S. must explain why it rejects foreign deals.

Defense bill amendment: Effort advances to add names of 74 sailors to Vietnam Memorial.

War and games: Ex-Army helicopter pilot heads Washington Redskins special teams.

This ATM that plays DOOM would make trips to the bank so much better.

Mark Hamill talks about returning to Star Wars.

Princess Leia is getting her own comic-book miniseries.

Watch the trailer for Kevin Smith's new film, Tusk.

Stephen Colbert hosted the Hobbit panel at Comic-Con in Hobbit costume.

The New York Times: Spider-Man punched a police officer in the face in Times Square over the weekend ...

It's been a while since we had a good dominoes toppling ...

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Jess Nemec

July 26, 2014 at 7:53am

Saturday Morning Joe: Libya embassy evacuation, Russia in Ukraine, Gaza truce, Boeing takes a hit ...

322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, U.S. Army Reserves Pacific, throw simulated coffees during a Best Warrior Competition event. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.26.14 >>>

The United States evacuated its embassy in Libya today, driving its staff under heavy military guard across the border to Tunisia because of escalating clashes between rival militias in Tripoli.

As fires rage in two states in the Pacific Northwest, Defense Department fire-suppression efforts are underway with two Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-capable C-130s.

Russia has accelerated its intervention, moving more of its own troops to its border with Ukraine.

The Pentagon said Russia is delivering heavier and more sophisticated missile launcher systems to separatists in Ukraine.

Short Gaza truce: Palestinians in the Gaza Strip poured into the streets to recover their dead and stock up on food supplies

The House passed a resolution requiring authorization from Congress for a sustained presence of combat troops in Iraq.

Predominant battleground for extremists: The number of foreign fighters in Syria now exceeds 12,000 and rising.

China's naval modernization program is moving at a rapid pace, the chief of U.S. naval operations said.

The Air Force's top officer gives his service top marks for personal behavior, saying he is "very happy with the ethical fabric of the United States Air Force," despite problems that include a cheating scandal at its nuclear missile sites and a general's drunken binge on an arms control mission.

Powerful forces in Congress are working to buy the U.S. Navy an extra amphibious ship, and lawmakers in both the House and Senate have added between $650 million and $800 million to the proposed 2015 shipbuilding budget to begin construction.

$1 billion-plus short: Amphibious add isn't enough, so Navy wants to repurpose it.

Boeing is taking a $272 million hit to its KC-46A tanker contract after discovering a wiring issue that will require fixing on a test aircraft.

Force-wide changes to the military's Tuition Assistance program may require troops to pay back their TA money if they perform poorly in class.

The Webb Space Telescope's sunshield is complete and it looks cool.

Here's Colbert's complete interview with multi-industry mad scientist Elon Musk.

The documentary about Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage's failed Superman movie has a trailer.

Bloopers!

LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal

July 25, 2014 at 7:31am

Friday Morning Joe: Russia arming Iraq and firing on Ukraine, US Army drawdown plan, US best burger ...

Afghan National Army throws coffee during an obstacle course at Kabul Military Training Center. Original photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd class David Kolmel

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.25.2014 >>>

Report: Russia has begun supplying military helicopters and fighter jets to Iraq.

Iraq Sunni militias pinched by jihadis, corruption.

Iraqi lawmakers elected a veteran Kurdish politician to replace long-serving Jalal Talabani as the country's new president. But a series of attacks killed dozens of people and Islamic militants destroyed a Muslim shrine traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed on for a Gaza ceasefire as the civilian death toll soared, threatening to spread Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. 

U.S. says: Russia firing artillery at Ukraine military.

Senior leaders explain Army's drawdown plan.

Sen. Richard Shelby is uncertain if the Senate will pass the Pentagon 2015 defense bill.

The U.S. Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. John Campbell, was confirmed Wednesday as the next commander for NATO's International Security Assistance Force and US Forces in Afghanistan.

Malabar Exercise: The United States, India and Japan are set to kick off week-long war games in the Pacific, beefing up naval ties as they warily eye an increasingly assertive China and its military buildup.

The littoral combat ship USS Coronado will get a chance at an historic LCS first this fall when it launches a surface-to-surface missile in tests off Southern California.

MH-17 shoot down alters Air Force's space equation.

House narrowly defeats motion agreeing to Senate VA bill.

More than half of post-9/11 combat veterans say they have a mental health condition, but three-fourths report they are getting care, according to a new survey of young veterans conducted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Guardsmen, reservists help battle western wildfires.

The U.S. Army has selected a new camouflage pattern, but the service doesn't feel the need to formally announce it.

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, is now joining several other military bases, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as possible locations to house unaccompanied Central American minors, according to the state's governor's office.

The fastest cruise missile in the world launching underwater.

The coolest object disintegration we have ever seen.

What the far future of space mining could look like.

Cyclist films his own road accident, and lives.

Paste names the best Merge Records releases in honor of the label's 25th anniversary.

ThinkGeek has unveiled a Flux Capacitor car charger.

The country's best fast food burger

Supercut: 80s computer hacking.

Finally: Senior citizens recreating classic movie scenes.

We fell out of trees at age 6 ...

LINK: Original photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd class David Kolmel

July 24, 2014 at 1:42pm

2-75th Ranger Regiment changes hands at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

James B. Bartholomees assumed command of 2-75th Ranger Regiment from Col. Gregory K. Anderson, July 24 at JBLM. Photo credit: Richard Baker

During a week of hot weather, heavy clouds and a cold snap threatening when Lt. Col. James B. Bartholomees assumed command of 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment from Col. Gregory K. Anderson, July 24 at Watkins Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, he inherited a unit with a long and proud fighting history. The 2nd Ranger Battalion is the second of three elite special operations commando battalions belonging to the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment. Guests huddled together and waited for rain as events of the battalion were related.

World War II brought about a need for special units and, along with the 5th Ranger Battalion, was quickly formed at Camp Forrest, Tenn. Only the best soldiers are chosen for special commando units and the 2nd Ranger Battalion felt like the best of the best when they were trained and sent to Great Britain to prepare for the D-Day invasion. Six Ranger battalions were eventually formed during the war.

Lt. Col. James Rudder attempted to land three companies of the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc during the invasion. Nothing goes as planned, especially during war, and several landing craft capsized drowning soldiers and losing supplies. Any chance at surprise was lost when the remaining unit landed an hour late. Undeterred, the remaining 190 men scaled rope ladders and completed their mission by disabling a battery of captured French artillery used by the Germans and pointed at Utah Beach. The cost, however, was high and only 90 soldiers were able to continue the fight and held off German counter-attacks for three days. After being brought to strength, the battalion continued to fight in the Hurtgen Forrest and led the assault on Hill 400 at Bergstein.

>>> Col. Gregory K. Anderson and Col. James B. Bartholomees watch over the 2-75th Ranger Regiment change of command ceremony at Watkins Field, JBLM, July 24. Photo credit: Richard Baker

The 2nd Battalion was reactivated as an elite combat unit at Joint Base lewis-McChord Oct. 1, 1974 and considered "world-wide deployable" by the Chief of Staff of the Army. In 19 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, they have conducted more than 3,500 raids against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. One company is always available for deployment within 18 hours, the remainder within a day.

For Lt. Col. Bartholomees, the change of command is almost like a homecoming. He served with the regiment as a rifle platoon leader, as the battalion logistics officer, and ranger rifle company commander. He was later assigned as the battalion liaison officer followed by executive officer. After moving to regimental headquarters he served as senior liaison officer, operations officer, executive officer, and regimental deputy commander. Many men know and respect him as an honest, intelligent, and fair commander. He returns that respect.

>>> Col. Gregory K. Anderson salutes the 2-75th Ranger Regiment during the change of command ceremony at Watkins Field, JBLM, July 24. Photo credit: Richard Baker

On three occasions, outgoing commander Col. Anderson deployed three times with the unit to Afghanistan. He will continue his military career by attending the U.S. Army War College before commanding the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy.

During the ceremony, the band sparkled, the troops looked smart, and even the rain held back out of respect for one of the finest fighting units in the military. At the completion of the ceremony, the sky broke apart and the sun shone through. No change of command has been better orchestrated.

July 22, 2014 at 7:28am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Iraq wants US air strikes, terror threat enter danger zone, top airmen bases, Ramones welcomed in heaven ...

Platoon 4020, November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, throw simulated coffees during the combat fitness test on Parris Island, S.C. Original photo by Lance Cpl. MaryAnn Hill

GRAB A COFFEE AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.22.2014 >>>

The Iraqi ambassador to the United States explicitly called for ramped up American military involvement in his country, asking the United States to launch air strikes against positions being held by ISIL.

Restoring peace to Iraq will require a re-balancing or disengagement of the center from the periphery, either de facto or de jure.

Beijing has defended its dispatch of a spy ship to international waters off Hawaii, near where Chinese vessels are taking part in a U.S.-led naval exercise for the first time.

The shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines passenger aircraft over eastern Ukraine is likely to further contribute to security concerns in Eastern Europe, where NATO allies eye increased cooperation in the field of defense and joint arms procurements.

Congress is deeply divided over whether to kill a contract with a top Russian arms supplier, Rosoboronexport, to provide helicopters and parts to the Afghan air force

Terror threat enters danger zone.

President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to former Staff Sgt Ryan M. Pitts during a White House ceremony.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says lawmakers tasked with hammering out a bipartisan legislation that would overhaul the Veterans Affairs Department have agreed that budget cuts should help fund any eventual bill.

President Barack Obama's choice to lead the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department is going before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for a confirmation hearing as Congress considers a bill to help the next VA leader do his job.

Medical professionals from coast to coast have pointed out problems at the VA, only to suffer retaliation from supervisors and other high-ranking officials.

New high-tech job training efforts being launched by the White House this week will include veteran-specific programs and placement efforts.

Oklahoma lawmakers urged the Obama administration to reconsider a decision to expand housing at U.S. military bases for child immigrants from Central American who are apprehended crossing the border

Special Report: Top five best bases for airmen. (Joint Base Lewis-McChord tied for 39th).

100 Guardsmen on standby to fight fires in Washington state.

The Air Force plans to launch two operational satellites and one experimental satellite into near-geosynchronous Earth orbit July 23.

Army officials have withdrawn their intelligence network from a major testing exercise this fall because of software glitches, in the latest setback for the troubled system.

The Army is "breaking new ground" in efforts to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault in the ranks.

Carl Sagan explains why aliens are not visiting us all the time.

Here's an insanely scary roller coaster for those who need to feel like they're close to dying in order to feel like they're living.

Driving in Russia is flirting with death-watch these three accidents happening in 30 seconds.

Hear a rockin' new Weezer track.

FX has renewed Fargo and Louie.

Sure, we have time for a 278-hour marathon of The Simpsons ...

Watch a five-minute clip from Guardians of the Galaxy.

In this video, Dave Foley welcomes the Ramones to heaven.

And finally, here is a crab eating a bowl of noodles.

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. MaryAnn Hill

July 18, 2014 at 7:39am

Friday Morning Joe: Malaysian airliner update, Gaza ground offensive, war funds, Army captains speak ...

2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, practice throwing training coffees before beginning a live-coffee exercise on Range 800. Original photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.18.14 >>>

Malaysian airliner shot down over eastern Ukraine: First came the loud explosion that made buildings rattle: then it started raining bodies.

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine agreed to allow investigators access to the scattered crash site of a Malaysian airliner that was shot down, killing all 298 aboard.

Separatist rebel claims about the flight recorders have profound implications for the integrity of the plane crash investigation.

It's finally time to stand up against Putin.

Israel steps up Gaza ground offensive, civilian casualties grow.

Why Israel launches a ground war in Gaza.

The Pentagon could use a new $5 billion counterterrorism fund, strongly opposed by the US Congress, to purchase new intelligence gear and aircraft for American and partner militaries.

A U.S. Senate panel approved nearly $550 billion in military spending, while also proposing to keep alive weapon systems the Pentagon wanted to retire. But senior members made clear it may never see the Senate floor.

Pentagon officials defended their request for $60 billion in war funds before the House Budget Committee as lawmakers accused them of trying to avoid budget caps and congressional scrutiny.

All four Congressional defense committees have aligned to support an increase in Tomahawk missile production in 2015 and beyond.

Afghanistan's future was the most popular discussion point during Thursday's confirmation hearing on Gen. Joseph Dunford's nomination to become the next Marine Corps commandant.

Sustaining the readiness and training in the Republic of Korea, includes soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Captains across the Army are telling their chief of staff that distance learning can be a powerful tool, but its be-all-promise may be a stretch, and its method of delivery may need some re-tooling.

Mission command challenging in peacetime, captains advise Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno.

Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, take shelter ballistic protection to the "X" Level.

The Army is creating a standard marketplace of tactical communications hardware to support the Common Operating Environment initiative and deliver a familiar and intuitive experience for soldiers.

The Hornet's Nest is a product of a two journalists - Mike and Carlos Boettcher, a father and son team who were embedded with the unit for nearly two years, filming soldiers' actions and daily lives, as well as those of the Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 101st, and Marines with 2nd Battalion of the 8th Marines.

Airman to publish story of tragedy, perseverance.

Complaints are surfacing about a new contractor that recently took over the process of shipping service members' privately owned vehicles to and from overseas locations.

Here Kitty Kitty!: How a cat poop parasite could help scientists develop a cancer treatment.

A hoodie made from speaker fabric won't muffle your headphones.

A tent with built-in LED lighting eliminates midnight flashlight hunts.

R.I.P., Elaine Stritch and Johnny Winter.

Here's a roundup of books that inspired various indie tunes and albums.

A.V. Club writers share their favorite songs of the year.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert appear in this funny Star Wars video for a good cause.

Finally: a few of these vintage Disneyland pictures are horrifying.

Got paddle?

LINK: Original photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan

July 17, 2014 at 3:07pm

Military Budget Cuts: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, local communities mobilize

Possible budget and personnel cuts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will have significant economic impacts on cities such as Lakewood. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Again, change may be coming to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

In 2013 the Army announced a reduction in force from a wartime peak of around 570,000 in 2010 to 490,000 as well as a substantial realignment of the remaining force.

These changes were required to achieve the savings specified in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and to adjust the Army's force structure to meet evolving mission requirements.

To analyze the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts on surrounding communities, the Army prepared a Programmatic Environmental Assessment in 2013 whereby 21 Army and joint base installations were evaluated.

Since 2013, the mission and fiscal considerations of the Department of Defense have continued to change, and now the size of the Army must be reduced to below the 490,000 discussed in the 2013 PEA.

The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) states that the active Army will now reduce to a force of 440,000 to 450,000 soldiers.  The QDR also states that if sequestration level cuts are imposed in fiscal year 2016 and beyond, force strength will be further reduced to 420,000.

As a result, the Army has recently prepared a Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) to assess the environmental and socioeconomic impacts on local municipalities of further reductions and to provide information to decision makers and the public.

The assessment has a direct bearing on JBLM.

As part of the reduction of force, in a worse case scenario the SPEA indicates that JBLM is being considered for a potential reduction of 16,000 soldiers and civilian workers.

The timeline for any kind of reduction would be between now and 2020.

"Under the proposed action, the Army estimates the JBLM Region of Influence (ROI) - encompassing Pierce and Thurston counties - would see an income reduction of $971.6 million; what the Army acknowledges to be a ‘significant impact' to Washington's 10th District," said Congressman Denny Heck in an email. "It is critical that we take advantage of the SPEA's public comment period to evaluate the Army's assessments and respond accordingly."

The South Sound Military and Communities Partnership (SSMCP) has put together an action team to analyze the SPEA and develop talking points for local communities to use in preparing official comments on the SPEA.

For more information on how to respond to these changes, contact Mary Huff, interim program manager, SSMCP at mhuff@cityoflakewood.us or 253.983.7774.

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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