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Fort Drum to lose 1,500 troops under Army plan
The Army announced Tuesday that Fort Drum will lose about 1,500 soldiers over the next four years as part of an overall reduction in troops across the Army.
The Army had said the post could lose as many as 8,000 soldiers – or gain as many as 3,000 – under the planned troop reduction and reorganization as the Afghanistan war winds down.
Democratic Congressman Bill Owens, of Plattsburgh, said the news of the 1,500-soldier loss gave him a sense of relief, since the cuts could have been much deeper.
"What this represents is the clear understanding by the Army that they have one of the most deployed, most well-trained, highly competitive units in the Army at the 10th Mountain, and they want to preserve that," he said.
The Army is eliminating 12 of its 45 brigade combat teams. A combat team includes about 3,500 troops who usually deploy together. Fort Drum's 3rd Brigade Combat Team will be inactivated, but each of its remaining brigade combat teams will gain a new battalion, softening the blow of the cut.
Both Fort Drum's commander and Congressman Owens said they think the reduction will not cause significant harm to the post's mission or the north country's economy.
Reporting by the Innovation Trail is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Visit innovationtrail.org.