Army officials will host a “listening session” in Killeen on Monday to get community input on force reduction and restructuring likely to impact installations Army-wide, and the mayor is urging everyone to attend.
“An empty room will convey an unambiguous message,” Mayor Dan Corbin said. “I look forward to the opportunity to represent the city and explain why they should keep the force structure high at Fort Hood.”
Held at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, the two-hour event begins at 5:30 p.m. and is open to everyone in the community. The session is related to the Army’s force reduction plan, required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, not sequestration — the automatic federal budget cuts that took hold last month.
Col. Charles Walters, of the Army’s Force Management; Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, the 1st Cavalry Division commander; and Bill Parry, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, will brief the community and then ask for input, according to Army and Fort Hood officials.
“They are going to give a brief on how the Army makes decisions,” said Lt. Col. Peggy Kageleiry, Operations, Intelligence and Logistics public affairs team chief.
These sessions are being held at every Army installation with more than 5,000 troops, she said. There are 30 scheduled: the first one today at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., ending at Fort Bliss on April 30.
Corbin said he plans to emphasize the amount of infrastructure Killeen has supported the Army with, including high quality of life for soldiers, building a new sewage treatment plant and investments in transportation.
“To dramatically change the force structure at Fort Hood would have a dire impact on the community,” Corbin said. “I think that when we speak to the Army, we should keep our emotions in check, speak about the facts and show them that we care about providing a high quality of life for the soldiers assigned to Fort Hood.”