Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), made the following statement following the Army's announcement on force structure changes:
"I am disappointed with today's announcement that the Army will deactivate the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), resulting in a reduction of approximately 4,500 soldiers. While this is a major loss to the Puget Sound community, JBLM's 26,500 soldiers will continue to play an important role in the Pacific Northwest and, in combination with the Air Force capabilities at McChord, will remain an important installation that allows the Army to project power to the Pacific.
"These reductions are part of a larger plan to cut 80,000 troops nationwide by 2017 that is largely a consequence of the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which mandated major cuts to the Department of Defense (DoD) budget. The BCA became law when the Republican majority refused to lift the debt ceiling without legislation that forced $900 billion in immediate cuts to discretionary programs, including $487 billion to defense programs. I voted against this legislation due to my concerns about these indiscriminate cuts and their effects on DoD as well as transportation, education, Medicare, and aid to the poor.
"Since that time, Congress has made it very difficult for the Department to implement these cuts. For example, the Department of Defense attempted to save money by retiring a number of ships it does not need, by requesting authority for a BRAC, which would allow the military to save money by consolidating and reorganizing its infrastructure, and by making changes to its health care systems. Congress blocked each and every one of these attempts and has now forced the military to make very difficult choices.
"Given the drawdown in Afghanistan, the Army can manage this reduction in troops, but the real hazard to military effectiveness will persist as long as Congress fails to act on sequestration. If sequestration is not removed, then more extensive force structure changes will need to be made to accommodate the severity of the sequester cuts. Earlier this year, I put forward a reasonable solution to sequestration. Unfortunately, Republican leadership in the House has not put my plan to a vote and now Congressional paralysis has placed our military in a very difficult position. It's time that Congress and the President come together to prevent an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts through sequestration."