Military Defenders Organize to Protect Missouri Bases
August 14, 2013

(AP) — Although there are no immediate plans to close military bases, some Missouri officials want the state to be prepared if the federal government considers doing so in the future.

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler convened a meeting Tuesday in Columbia that drew nearly 60 people from military communities to discuss ways of shoring up the state’s military bases and contracts.

The Columbia Daily Tribune cited a report showing that defense spending at Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood totals about $1.2 billion annually. Spending on other defense contracts in Missouri totals about $11.7 billion annually.

The report was issued earlier this year by the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission. Commission Chairman Mike Dunbar says it’s important for Missouri to market itself as a military-friendly state.

Hartzler Warns Army, Don’t Run Out on Ft. Leonard Wood
May 1, 2013

US in IraqWestern Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler says potential troop cutbacks at the Army base at Ft. Leonard Wood could cost the post more than 40% of its troop strength.
Hartzler is joining the opposition to the cuts. Both Missouri senators, Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill wrote the Army recently to try to save the staffing at Ft. Leonard Wood.
The Army is considering reducing the size of its force, said Hartzler by about 70,000 troops.
Under one version of the plan, Ft. Leonard Wood could lose nearly 4,000 troops.
The Missouri lawmakers said the troop reductions would disrupt the fort’s coordinated training programs that are grouped at Ft. Leonard Wood.
Soldiers returning from overseas assignments to Ft. Leonard Wood are often used at the post to train other soldiers who are about to go on similar assignments.
Hartzler also worries the troop reductions and consolidations could hurt the counties surrounding the southern Missouri military post.
“In addition to the proposed reduction potentially harming military readiness and family well-being, the cuts at Fort Leonard Wood would disproportionately impact Pulaski, Laclede, and other counties with civilians employed at the Fort,” continued Hartzler. “The economic impact to this part of our state, with the loss of 41 percent of the Fort Leonard Wood permanent party, would be devastating.”
Kansas’ largest military base, Ft. Riley is also facing the possibility of troop reductions because of the military reduction plans.

McCaskill Calls Level of Sex Assaults in Military, “Unacceptable”
February 14, 2013

McCaskill

McCaskill

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says the level of sexual assaults in the military continues to be “unacceptable”.
In a news release McCaskill’s office says she and a group of Senators and Representatives were updated on the scope of the problem during a Pentagon briefing on Thursday.
Her office says a lack of reporting sexual assaults continues, even though the military has been trying to deal with the problem for 10 years.
She cited a report from “the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, show 3,191 cases reported—although it is estimated that only 13.5% of survivors report,”.
McCaskill claims the actual number of cases of sexual assault in the military may be as high as 19,000 a year. She also says only 150 cases of the nearly 4,000 2011 reports in the have been prosecuted.
McCaskill is a member of the Senate Armed services Committee.
She pointed out the Army base at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri has a history of struggling with the problem.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on the problem in 2011.
At the time, one of the base’s prosecutors summed up the problem in a terse sentence included in the 2011 news report.
“Intoxicate, isolate, violate, that’s the modus operandi of the accused,” said Capt. Dan Larson, who helped prosecute” some of the Army base’s sexual assaults.

Kansas & Missouri Republicans Write Obama, No More Base Closings
February 27, 2012

A set of Republican Members of Congress, including several from Missouri and Kansas are calling for President Obama not to close any more military bases.
There are four major military posts in Kansas and Missouri, The Army bases in Ft. Leonard Wood, in Missouri. Kansas has Ft. Riley,
The Air Force has major bases in both states, Whiteman AFB in western Missouri and McConnell AFB in Wichita.
Kansas also has the Ft. Leavenworth military college.
The Missouri Representatives signing the letter include Rep.Vicky Hartzler, she represents the Mo-4 district, which has both Whiteman and Ft. Leonard Wood in her district.
Other Missourians signing the letter includes Reps. Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson and Blaine Luetkemyer.
Kansas Representative Lynn Jenkins also signed the letter. Ft. Riley is in her Ks-2 district.
A portion of the letter expresses alarm that the Obama administration may launch another round of military base closings, in an effort to reduce government spending.
The Representatives say that is “an ill-advised”strategy”.
The claim the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) project “is estimated to cost $37 billion to implement and the country will not realize net savings until 2018 at the earliest”.
The Representatives say another round of BRAC closings could cost more than it would save.