Sigh of Relief as Fort Drum Avoids Major Cuts
Last year the Army eliminated the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Briagde and 1,500 active duty positions with it.

Shortly after the Army announced it would look into future cuts, another 40,000 nationwide.  It studied Fort Drum to see what effect cutting another 16,000 or 80% of it's soldiers jobs would have.

Efforts to convince the Army it would be devastating culminated in March.   A rally at JCC was held to show Washington what Fort Drum means to the North Country and vise versa.

The rally was followed up by testimonials.  In all, some 2,000 people showed up.

Ten days later, Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Drum and let everyone know it wasn't going anywhere.

"Fort Drum isn't going anywhere.  You guys are in the middle of everything," he said.

But what Carter didn't do, was clarify just how many soldiers Fort Drum would lose.  Anything less than last year would be okay but anything more and there'd be problems.

But the partnership between Fort Drum and the Community paid off Thursday in a big way.  It was announced Fort Drum will only lose 28 positions and as Rep. Elise Stefanik put it, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.

"It is an incredible day for Fort Drum and it is a testament to the unique role that Fort Drum plays in our military readiness," Stefanik said.

If you compare Fort Drum's numbers to the overall number of cuts nationwide announced Thursday, clearly Army leaders agreed with all those who supported Fort Drum's and the 10th Mountain Division's importance.

"This reduction amounts to an accumulative cut of 120,000 from the regular Army or 21% since 2012," Army Director of Force Management Brig. General Randy George said Thursday.

But as the community takes that breath, there's more trouble ahead.  If the 2016 fiscal year starts and sequestration, those automatic spending cuts triggered by a lack of a budget agreement, is still in play, the Army could be looking at another reduction of 20,000 - 30,000 troops and Fort Drum could once again have a big target.
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