Army's Proposed Budget Delivers Deep Cuts, Fort Drum Impact Unknown

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has promised a leaner military.

The 2015 proposed budget puts numbers to the word 'leaner.'

The Army's proposed budget is $120 billion - that's $5 billion less than the current year.

The Army was already due to shrink to 490,000 troops; Fort Drum is to lose about 1,500 soldiers as a result. 

Hagel wants to reduce the size of the Army further - to around 450,000 soldiers.

There's no specific word on what the budget would mean to Fort Drum, but there is conjecture that there will be more troop reductions, that Fort Drum may not get 2,000 soldiers it was going to get to partly make up for the loss of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Other budget items that will or could affect Fort Drum's soldiers: the Army's Kiowa helicopter fleet will be retired; pay increases and the basic allowance for housing growth will slow, and TRICARE will morph from three plans into one.

"Soldiers frequently will ask questions about what do these announcements mean and quite honestly I don't have an answer right now because i don't know what they mean," said Major General Stephen Townsend.

Hagel also wants to cut the Army National Guard, something governors across the country - including here in New York -  will oppose.

North country Congressman Bill Owens is already on record opposing Guard cuts.

Owens' office said it may know more about what the budget means Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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