Army considers increase in isle forces
The proposal would add 1,000 noncombat soldiers to the state
The Army is seeking comments on its proposal to add to its Hawaii force an additional 1,000 noncombat soldiers to provide support and logistical services.
Under the Army proposal, announced in December, Pentagon leaders said they planned to explore the impact of adding 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers throughout the Pacific.
Besides relocating 1,000 soldiers to Hawaii, the Army also wants to increase its force in Alaska by 2,400 soldiers. A final decision will not be made until September.
Besides Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter on Oahu, the Army will study the capacity of Army installations at Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright in Alaska and their capacity to accommodate new units.
In a written statement, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said, "This is not connected in any way to continuing questions about the basing of Stryker Brigades at Schofield Barracks."
Sen. Daniel Akaka said that the Army completed an environmental impact statement two months ago on the effect of additional forces on the mainland.
The Hawaii and Alaska study will supplement that environmental study, Akaka added. The deadline to submit comments on what the Army should include in this study is April 16.
The additional 1,000 soldiers would be support and logistical forces such as engineering, military police, aviation or battlefield surveillance units, Army leaders here said yesterday.
There are now 18,000 active-duty soldiers stationed at Fort Shafter and Schofield Barracks.
Specifically, Abercrombie said the Army will be studying and evaluating "the environmental and socioeconomic impacts, including effects on natural, cultural and made-made environments on the bases, as well on the surrounding communities, from adding support personnel and their families."
Written comments and suggestions concerning this environmental impact statement should be sent to Public Affairs Office; U.S. Army Environmental Command, Building E4460; 5179 Hoadley Road; Attention: IMAEPA; Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 210105401. Telephone: (410) 436-2556. Fax: (410) 436-1693. E-mail comments should be sent to PublicComments@aec.apgea.army.mil.