WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today released the following statements about Fort Sill’s announcement regarding the vital role Fort Sill will continue to play as the Army plans for its future force structure:
“I applaud Major General Rossi and the leadership of Fort Sill for taking steps now to identify and mitigate any impacts of force structure changes to the mission at Fort Sill,” said Inhofe. “Chief of Staff of the Army General Milley’s top priority is readiness of the force, and Fort Sill plays a critical role in achieving this necessary military readiness by ensuring our Army and its soldiers are trained and equipped to fight and defend this country. The importance of Fort Sill’s mission, coupled with unparalleled community and state support, has resulted in continued growth. However, the president’s irresponsible defense budgets over the past seven years have forced each of the services, especially the Army, to reduce force structure to an unacceptable and unsustainable level. The president’s disarming of America has left us with a military too small that the threats we face are outpacing our ability to deter and confront them. Until we can reverse this trend under a new administration, I am committed to working closely together with military leaders and my colleges to ensure any force structures changes do not impact our mission, our soldiers, civilians and their families."
“Our nation faces very serious world-wide security threats, and it’s more important than ever to have an Army that is resourced and trained to defeat these global dangers,” said Lankford. “I’ve expressed these concerns directly to the Secretary of Defense just last month. I’m thankful that the reductions at Ft. Sill are less than at other bases, but even more thankful for the Ft. Sill leadership that will ensure these reductions do not impact the readiness of our soldiers. There is no better partner for the Army than the men and women in Oklahoma. I will continue to work with the Army to ensure our soldiers are properly resourced and trained to meet our national security requirements, especially at Ft. Sill.”
“Due to budget demands placed on the Department of Defense, the Army has made necessary adjustments to both civilian and military billets at posts across the United States,” said Cole. "While Fort Sill has been fortunate that the changes are minor, in comparison with other installations, adapting to any change is difficult. I am confident that Fort Sill will continue to find the best solutions despite budget challenges, and I will work to ensure it has the resources needed to complete its mission. I continue to believe our military’s end strength is too low, and not reflective of the global reality or potential for conflict.”
Maj. Gen. John Rossi, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, announced that Fort Sill received guidance for Fiscal Year 2016 to help shape the Army force structure over the next five to ten years. Maj. Gen. Rossi and his staff have begun to analyzed and define options on how to meet Army force structure changes at Fort Sill to include the possibility of various post agencies having to limit the number of authorizations, or positions, in their organizations. By taking these steps now, Fort Sill will be able to mitigate impacts Fort Sill personnel - military and civilian - and its mission.
Fort Sill’s offices, directorates, units, and agencies answer to larger major commands like Army Installation and Management Command, Army Materiel Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Forces Command, Army Medical Command and the Network Enterprise Technology Command, all major subordinate commands of the Army overall. Army direction to these commands ultimately has an impact across the Army, to include Ft Sill.
Fort Sill continues to grow as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure, becoming the new home to the Air Defense Artillery School, the 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade. The most recent Army reorganization decision added two FORSCOM battalions, the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery and the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery. These two battalions will bring about 800 soldiers and their families, which could bring the total to about 1,600 new people, to the Lawton-Fort Sill community over the next two years. The first new battalion is expected to arrive this summer and the second battalion will arrive in the second half of 2017.