WASHINGTON — The Department of the Army has completed a final programmatic environmental assessment and draft finding of no significant impact for Army force structure reductions and realignments that may occur from fiscal years 2013 to 2020.

The programmatic environmental assessment, known as a PEA, evaluates and assesses the environmental impacts of potential adjustments to Army forces at 21 installations, including Fort Bragg.

The Army’s proposed action evaluated in the PEA is to reduce the Army’s active-duty,  end-strength from 562,000 at the end of fiscal year 2012 to 490,000 by fiscal year 2020. The PEA analyzes two primary alternatives:

Alternative No. 1: Implement force reductions by inactivating a minimum of eight brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, and realign other combat, combat support, and service support units between fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2020; and;

The PEA also analyzes a no action alternative, which would not reduce the size of the force.

“People need to remember this is just a proposal.  It is not a done deal,” said Tom McCollum, Fort Bragg Garrison’s public affairs officer.

As reported in the Fayetteville Observer on Jan. 23, Congressional leaders who represent Fort Bragg and the Cape Fear region say people shouldn’t read too much into a new report suggesting that the Army post could lose 8,000 Soldiers and civilian workers by 2020.

David Ward, a spokesman for Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, said the Army has not told Burr of any impending troop reductions at Fort Bragg.

“I have been assured that this is just a proposal and that no final decisions have been made,” said Mike McIntyre, U.S. representative from the 7th District. The implementation of Army force realignment may occur over the course of several years to arrive at an optimally configured force in 2020. Reductions in Army Soldiers will also be accompanied by some reduction in civil service employees.

In releasing the PAE, the US Army’s Environmental Command stated these actions are being undertaken to reshape the Army’s forces to more effectively meet  national security requirements while reducing the Army’s end-strength. Force realignment and some level of force reduction will impact most major Army installations. Alternatives considered in the PEA evaluate the largest growth potential scenarios at installations that may occur from BCT restructuring, as well as the greatest force reduction scenarios that could occur as a result of Army force drawdown. The range of potential installation reduction and growth (ranging from maximum losses of 8,000 military personnel to maximum increases of 3,000 at the Army’s largest installations) was chosen for the environmental analysis to provide flexibility as future force structure realignment decisions are made.

Environmental impacts associated with implementation of alternatives evaluated in the PEA include impacts to air quality, airspace, cultural and biological resources, noise, soil erosion, wetlands, water resources, facilities, socioeconomic impact, energy demand, land use, hazardous materials and waste, and traffic and transportation. No significant environmental impacts are anticipated as a result of implementing either alternative associated with the proposed action, with the exception of socioeconomic impacts.

Socioeconomic impacts are of particular concern to the Army because they affect communities around Army installations. Therefore, the PEA has a comprehensive analysis of the socioeconomic impacts to inform the decision makers and communities. Impacts could include reduced employment, income, regional population, and sales. Some of these impacts could be significant.

Final decisions as to which alternative will be implemented and which installations will see reductions or unit realignments, have not yet been made. Those decisions will be made based on mission-related criteria and other factors in light of the information contained in the PEA.

The Army study finds that there are no significant environmental impacts with either alternative evaluated in the PEA and a draft finding of no significant impact has been prepared.

The public can review the PEA and draft FNSI and submit comments on the draft FNSI until Feb. 19. An electronic version of the PEA and draft FNSI will be available at: http://aec.army.mil/usaec/nepa/topics00.html.

Comments or questions on the PEA should be submitted to: Public Comments USAEC, Attn: IMPA-AE (Army 2020 PEA), 2450 Connell Road (Bldg 2264), Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664, or emailed to: USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil.

For questions or additional information about this PEA, call (210) 466-1590 or email USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil.