Troop Reductions Spare Much of Fort Carson

Fort Carson is faring better than many as part of the Army's efforts to reduce overall troop numbers by 40,000.

The Mountain Post will lose about 365 soldiers, a fraction of the 16,000 once deemed possible

In a statement, Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers called this good news for the city, and says it's "an indication of the importance of Ft. Carson in the overall defense mission.  It also reflects positively on the case Colorado Springs has made on behalf of Ft. Carson."

Suthers said though, it's important to "remain vigilant" as more troop reductions could occur.

The downsizing comes as a result of 2011's Congressional sequestration, which could still lead to further troop cuts.

Congressman Doug Lamborn [R-Colorado Springs], whose district is home to Fort Carson, says the decision means, "we are viewed favorably by the DOD and the Army."  Lamborn goes on to say this is a "somber day," calling the cuts "arbitrary," and a result of what he calls a "disastrous policy of budget sequestration."

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet [D] issued a statement saying the minimal cuts mean the Pentagon recognizes Fort Carson as a strategic asset.  Bennet also said, "We will continue to fight the sequester, which is bad policy."

Cory Gardner, Colorado's Republican Senator, is also critical of the actions due to sequestration, saying the President needs to reconsider a veto threat to a defense spending bill, and work with Congress to maintain the strongest military in the world.

Fort Carson currently has around 24,000 active duty soldiers.  Base officials say the cuts will affect the 4th Infantry Division headquarters, as well as the armored brigade combat team and the explosive ordinance disposal company. 

Bases in Alaska and Georgia bore the brunt of the cuts, each losing almost 3,000 troops.  Fort Hood in Texas will lose at least 2,600 soldiers.  Pentagon leadership says they made decisions based on factors including readiness, mission command, and cost. 

Fort Carson officials declined to speculate on possible future cuts; a statement from the Department of Defense says if more cuts are made, "the resulting force would be incapable of simultaneously meeting current deployment requirements and responding to the overseas contingency requirements of the combatant commands."