Local Leaders Ready For Battle To Save Fort Drum

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"I'm assuming that we're not going to face worst case, but we have to address the worst case," said Carl McLaughlin, the head of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization.

McLaughlin will be the point man for much of the community's response to the Army's question: what would happen to northern New York if Fort Drum shrank from a population of 19,000 soldiers and civilian workers to just 3,000?

"Give us the impact to you. Tell us what would happen to your organization, your business," said McLaughlin.

The last time the Army talked cuts in 2013, it held a listening session at Case Middle School in Watertown.

McLaughlin says people should start writing, emailing and getting ready for another listening session right now.

"The clock starts today," he said.

But how realistic is a cut of 16,000 people?

In 2013, the military talked about cutting 8,000 people from Fort Drum, but ended up cutting far less.

The net loss is between 1,500 and 1,800 people.

"People should not jump to the most negative conclusion. It's way too early for that too occur and people need to focus on getting the job done," said north country Congressman Bill Owens (D. - 21st District).

There's a 60 day window beginning now, where the Army wants the community to send in opinions on the possible cuts.

A listening session is expected this fall or winter.

The deadline for written comments August 25.

See our full report, including the address to send comments

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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