Thursday, January 15, 2015

Preparing for the Army Community Listening Session

The purpose of the January 21 Army Community Listening Session is twofold:
First, it is to explain the proposed Army downsizing and the factors it will consider in the decision.
Second, it is to listen to what the community has to say about the proposed 11,000 reduction of active duty and civilian contractors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM.)

The Army is conducting these community listening sessions in order to provide communities an opportunity to provide input into the force downsizing decision process.  The Army is scheduled to announce its downsizing decisions by the end of summer 2015.

Army VIPs to attend listening session:  Lt. General Lanza (Commanding General, I Corps), Maj. General Ferrell (Commanding General, 7th Infantry Division), Maj. General Tempel (Chief of Army Dental Corps), Maj. General (RET) Jimmy Collins (CASA), Colonel Chuck Hodges (JBLM Joint Base Commander)

09:45:  Arrive at McGavick Conference Center Ballroom at Clover Park Technical College
10:00:  Welcome and Introduction
• Dr. Lonnie L. Howard, the president of Clover Park Technical College
10:05:  Opening Remarks by LTG Lanza
10:15:  Community Listening Session Begins
12:00:  Community Listening Session Ends

Getting ready to Speak
When you arrive – sign up to speak if there is a sign up list
When you testify –
1.    Plan to speak for no more than 3 minutes
2.    Introduce yourself and state why the proposed downsizing concerns you in 1 sentence
3.    Talk about what you know about - explain how the downsizing would affect you, your family, your business, the region, the state, and/or JBLM itself.
a.    Do you represent a group or organization?  If so, which one and what does it do in relation to JBLM?
b.    Are you military-connected?  Are you active duty, a military spouse or a veteran?
c.    Do you work at or own a business that relies on JBLM for its revenue?  For its employees?
d.    Do you own or work at a business that is a contractor for JBLM?
e.    Do you know about why the Army should not reduce forces at JBLM because of the resources, assets, investments and modernization, mission readiness, location, etc. at the base?
f.     Do you know about the role the base plays in the region with surrounding communities?
g.    Do you know about the investments made by communities next to the base or the State of WA to support and improve transportation, education, health care, workforce transition services, and more for services members and their families?
h.    Finish your testimony with a final statement about why the Army should not downsize JBLM.  Thank the people listening for the opportunity to speak.
4.    If you have a letter to submit, turn it in at the end of your testimony.
5.    If you do not want to talk on the 21st but you have a letter to submit, make sure you turn it in at the listening session to Army representatives.

Some Background Facts:
-       In 2014, there were 42,155 active duty service members at JBLM.  There were 16,739 civilian employees and contractors.  There were 48,510 family members and 32,064 local retirees.  There were 294,727 retirees located in WA, OR, ID, and MT. 
-       In 2012, the revenue generated by JBLM in Washington was $6.1 billion dollars.
-       JBLM is the “7th largest city in the state.”  70% of active duty service members live off base - 60.9% live in greater Pierce County, 32.5% live in greater Thurston County, 0.3% live in greater King County.  
-       Of the over 1,500 Washington businesses that contract with the Department of Defense and JBLM, most are located in King County.  The Army did not consider the effects of downsizing at JBLM on King County.
-       JBLM is the top requested location by Soldiers in the continental US and Europe due to quality of life for service members and their families.
-       JBLM has set the national standard for the joint basing process.
-       JBLM has set the national standard for how to comply with the VOW Act and to prepare service members for transitioning out of service into employment and/or further education.
-       JBLM is one of the most modern installations in the country, having spent millions of public dollars on transportation, schools, barracks, and other infrastructure.  The region and the state have also invested heavily in infrastructure (roads, schools, health care and social services for families, etc.) to support the base and its service members.
-       JBLM is a power projection installation – it is unique due to its location and proximity to the Pacific as well as the co-location of Army and Air Force forces there.  “The Army remains committed to its strategic goals of having the capability to deploy its forces anywhere in the Pacific theater within a few days of notification.  These requirements guide the Army in selecting stationing locations that can support PACOM operations.”  (July 2008 SPEIS, Army Growth and Force Structure Realignment to Support Operations in the Pacific Theater (pg. 11)
-       Local, regional, and state leaders, governments, service organizations, businesses, and people have developed long standing and deep relationships with the base and its service members.

More background information is available here.

Courtesy RSVP here.   

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