Governor John Hickenlooper spoke in support of Fort Carson Tuesday at a listening session in Colorado Springs. The forum comes as the Army looks to reduce its numbers of active-duty soldiers by at least 40,000.
The reductions could impact up to 16,000 personnel at Fort Carson. The listening session was one of 30 being held across Army bases aimed at providing input to the Pentagon before any decisions are made.
Governor Hickenlooper said Colorado has a long, proud history with the military, and provides training and support that is unique.
The Army is looking to increase training activities at its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado. As part of the process, officials are required to conduct environmental impact studies and open the reports to public comments.
Today, Monday December 15, is the last day to submit public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed increase in training.
Explosions, drones, and full-brigade size exercises with armored vehicles are all a part of the Army’s proposed Enhanced Readiness plan for its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado. The goal is to get troops trained on new gear. It’s a controversial plan that some say opens the door to expansion, a notion that’s long been a thorn in the side of many nearby residents.
Fort Carson is in the process of working out a long-term agreement to use public land for high altitude helicopter training. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
Since 2010, Fort Carson has had annual agreements with the Bureau of Land Management for training northwest of Canon City. The Mountain Post recently submitted a proposal for a 20-year agreement, which is now under review.
BLM spokesman Kyle Sullivan says the proposal is entering a one month long public scoping period.
Fort Carson officials are encouraging personnel on the base to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behavior after two shots were heard on the Mountain Post Monday night, prompting increased security measures. Military police are investigating the reports that say the shots were heard near the northwest perimeter of the base just before 8:00 PM. Officials say this was not an active shooter event, and there’s no immediate danger. No suspects are in custody.
Fort Carson is conducting a full-scale crisis exercise Tuesday and Wednesday. The training is expected to feature a simulated car bomb near Prussman Chapel on the Mountain Post.
Those on base can expect road closures from 5 am until 3 pm Tuesday, specifically Prussman between Berkeley and McGrath, and Porter Street. McGrath will be down to one lane for about a block. Detours may also be in place.
The annual exercise tests emergency response procedures. Previous simulations include chemical spills, terrorist attacks, and winter weather.
Civilian workers across military installations in the Pikes Peak region are feeling the effects of the federal government shutdown. At the Air Force Academy, more than 1,000 civilians are furloughed, while 450 employees are exempt and will continue to work.
In 2012, the U.S. military’s suicide rate surpassed combat deaths. Clinical Psychologist Craig Bryan has made suicide prevention his mission. This January, Dr. Bryan’s research brought him to Colorado Springs’ Fort Carson, where he was conducting his second study on mental health treatments. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin sat down then to talk about his research–and how the very characteristics that make an effective soldier can also lead to increased suicide risk.
The U.S. Army yesterday announced plans to deactivate one of Fort Carson’s four Brigade Combat Teams by 2017. The move would affect nearly 4,000 soldiers, but as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, it’s not yet clear how many positions the Colorado Springs Army post would actually lose.