Governor Steve Beshear says he will be working with Kentucky's Congressional delegation to hopefully soften the loss of a brigade at Fort Knox.
The cuts announced Tuesday will deactivate the Third Brigade Combat Team, which has about 3,500 soldiers. The number of active duty combat brigades is being slashed as the military returns to pre-9\11 troop levels.
Beshear says not much can be done about the federal decision, but the state can continue to position Fort Knox as a vital resource to the Defense Department. He suggests building on changes the post made under the military's base re-alignment some five years go.
"We ended up building the biggest office building in this state on Fort Knox to house the Human Resources Command that handles all human resources for the Army," Beshear remarks. "Why not move human resources for the Air Force, Marines, Navy to that location?"
Beshear claims having human resources for every military branch at one location could be an efficiency measure for the Department of Defense. In addition, he says officials will be looking at other ways to maximize the use of Fort Knox.
Kentucky's Second District U.S. Congressman says he's hopeful the military will find a replacement for the infantry brigade that will leave Ft. Knox by 2017. Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie represents the Hardin County region, and told WKU Public Radio he has been in contact with area leaders since Tuesday's announcement by the army.
"If this happens, are there other opportunities to strengthen Ft. Knox in other areas? I don't think it will replace 3,600 permanent soldiers, but there are ways to make this easier, and possibly bring some other military units on to Ft. Knox," said Guthrie.
The loss of the lone infantry brigade combat team at Ft. Knox is part of the army's plan to cut active-duty personnel by 80,000.
Rep. Guthrie says he's concerned that those in Washington making decisions on the size of the military are doing so based mostly on budget concerns, as opposed to what missions America's armed services should be asked to accomplish.
Interview with Brad Richardson, president of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce
A wide-ranging plan by the U.S. Army to thin its ranks by 80,000 will lead to the loss of the infantry brigade combat team at Ft. Knox.
Ft. Campbell will also lose a brigade, which typically consists of about 3,500 soldiers, but can total up to 5,000 for certain heavily armored units.
The plan announced Tuesday by U.S. military leaders would decrease the overall number of active-duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, and would also impact Army installations in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Kansas and Washington.
The military downsizing would dissolve the lone infantry brigade combat team stationed at Ft. Knox by 2017. However, Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson told WKU Public Radio that there are discussions ongoing about the possibility of Ft. Knox landing some other type of Army brigade.
Richardson stresses any such discussions are very preliminary and in no way set in stone.
The army downsizing in no way impacts the thousands of civilian workers employed at the Human Resources and Recruiting centers at Ft. Knox. Still, Richardson says the loss of 3,300 active duty soldiers and their families would hurt the region's economy. He points out about 70 percent of the military personnel stationed at Ft. Knox live off the post, in communities like Radcliff, Vine Grove, and Elizabethtown.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a western Kentucky man who pleaded guilty to killing three children and attacking their mother near Fort Campbell.
The high court on Thursday found a judge committed no errors in allowing 41-year-old Kevin Wayne Dunlap to admit to the killings in Trigg County and have a jury decide only if he would be condemned to death or face a lesser sentence.
Dunlap was sentenced to death March 19, 2010. He pleaded guilty to stabbing and killing 5-year-old Ethan Frensley, 17-year-old Kayla Williams and 14-year-old Kortney Frensley when they returned home from school on Oct. 15, 2008 near the Fort Campbell military installation in southern Kentucky.
The military says two Fort Campbell soldiers died in Afghanistan after their unit was struck by an improvised explosive device.
Killed on Monday were 23-year-old 2nd Lt. Justin Lee Sisson of Phoenix, Ariz., and 20-year-old Spc. Robert Allan Pierce of Panama, Okla. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Sisson joined the Army about a year ago after graduating from Florida State University. Pierce joined in April 2011 and served in Korea before arriving at Fort Campbell last August.
Sisson's survivors include his parents, Kevin B. Sisson and Phyllis M. Sisson, both of Phoenix.
Pierce is survived by his spouse, Christian M. Pierce of Huntington, Ark., and parents, Randy R. Pierce of Panama and Lonnetta R. Dart of Hartford, Ark.