COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Looming Pentagon budget cuts could affect troop levels at Fort Carson, according to the new commander of the Army post.
Maj. Gen. Paul LeCamera told a group of military officers, politicians and government leaders on Thursday that the post outside Colorado Springs could lose 8,000 soldiers or gain 3,000, depending on what the Defense Department decides to cut.
"We're going to have to shift our formations and those decisions have not been made," he said.
Fort Carson is one of 21 posts that could be affected by the reductions or possible shifts of soldiers from one facility to another. One scenario being studied would eliminate eight combat brigade teams across the Army.
Another would eliminate more than that but increase the size of the remaining brigades.
Army spokeswoman Cathy Kropp has said Fort Carson's troop strength would probably shrink under the first alternative and could grow under the second, but exact figures aren't known.
The Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/15k4uU9 ) the post has doubled its ranks since 2003, adding more than 13,000 soldiers. But that growth will likely be curtailed with a decade of Pentagon budget cuts planned, including cutting the Army's rolls by 80,000 soldiers by 2020. The Pentagon also plans to cut $1 trillion in spending over the next decade.
Dennis Hisey, an El Paso County commissioner who heads the board of directors for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, said the region has demonstrated the ability to handle Army growth. That, he said, should serve Fort Carson well when Army leaders decide what to cut and realign, but uncertainty remains.
"We can absolutely handle 3,000 more soldiers easily," he said. "To lose 8,000 soldiers would hurt outside the gate."
Fort Carson's 26,000 soldiers and 33,000 family members pump an estimated $2.2 billion into the area's economy.
Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com