HARKER HEIGHTS — Chamber of commerce members received some insider knowledge about Fort Hood at a luncheon Thursday.

Col. Matt Elledge, Fort Hood garrison commander, briefed about 60 local business representatives and Harker Heights officials about the effects of military downsizing.

“Yes, we are reducing, but we are not reducing as much as everyone else,” Elledge said.

Most installations are looking at a 14 percent cut.

Fort Hood is looking at a 7 to 8 percent loss, he said. That translates to about 2,900 soldiers and 198 civilian positions by at least 2017, leaving the post with about 38,000 soldiers.

Once infrastructure projects are finished, such as the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, new construction is not anticipated until military funding issues are resolved, Elledge said.

“We are in a sustainment mode,” Elledge said. “We have to prioritize what is important.”

Elledge said the installation, which partners with surrounding communities, recently started to work with Killeen to see what services may be duplicated.

“We want to make sure all of you know that our partnership with the communities is more important now than ever,” he said. “The partnerships are even more critical as things start to tighten.”

Ted Smith, a Harker Heights attorney, said it was important to hear from Fort Hood, because many people who seek his services have a connection to the post.

“Fort Hood is a the 500-pound grower,” Smith said. “They keep our community growing, and they support us.”

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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