Budget Squeeze Forces JBLM to Consider Training Closer to Base

first_imgFunding constraints are prompting Army leaders at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) to consider opportunities for conducting training on post or closer to the western Washington installation as a way of cutting costs.“We have to be efficient. We have to do at JBLM locally everything that we can,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas James, commander of the 7th Infantry Division.One cost-saving proposal would give Army helicopter pilots new routes and training zones over public land in southwest Washington and in the North Cascades as an alternative to a site in Colorado, reported the News Tribune. A second proposal would allow two battalions to fire rocket training rounds in JBLM’s artillery impact area instead of limiting their exercises to the Yakima Training Center.JBLM has considered carrying out training for the rocket system in the past, but did not go ahead due to community concerns about noise. The change would save money, as two battalions now travel to the Yakima Training Center in central Washington to test the weapons, incurring about $227,000 in travel expenses for moving Army vehicles to Yakima.Army officials believe both proposals are cost-effective ways to improve training.“These are things we can do at JBLM to maximize our nation’s resources,” James said. “We have to make sure it’s safe and the community around JBLM embraces it.”Budget concerns this summer already forced a Stryker battalion’s scheduled training rotation at Yakima to be postponed, according to the story. The funds weren’t available initially due to unexpected maintenance and training costs for other units at the post. Forces Command ultimately furnished several million dollars to the division, allowing the battalion to travel to Yakima at a later date. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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