Local Leaders Optimistic About Fort Drum's Future

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The first reaction after the Defense Department announced its proposal to cut troops:  Congressman Bill Owens says Fort Drum might be okay.

"I think for the Watertown community, this is not bad news," said Owens (D. - 21st District).

Owens says Fort Drum's light infantry fits the Defense Department's idea of the 'Army of the Future'.

"Well trained, easily deployable, in for quick fight," said Owens.

Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization head Carl McLaughlin feels the same way and says Fort Drum is a strong installation to house future troops.

"This community has prepared itself well. We've taken care of housing, education, medical needs," said McLaughlin.

But there is some doubt on Fort Drum. 

Loren Zeilnhofer, the vice president of a union representing many of the civilian Defense Department workers on Fort Drum says whether soldiers stay at Fort Drum will all come down to politics.

"We're hoping our congressman and senators are going to be there to save Fort Drum if it comes down to that," he said.

Congress does have the last word on the Pentagon budget and it's due to pass its comprehensive budget for next year by October.

Monday, July 28, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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