Support Our Troops!

From Holden:

I for one am gratified that the Republikkkan leadership is concentrating on saving us from gay marriage, taxes on our multi-million dollar inheritance, and combustible flags while our largest military base is allowed to rot.

Fort Hood, the nation’s largest military installation, is cutting many of its contract services, including groundskeeping and pest control, because of what it calls a “severe budget crunch” hitting Army posts across the country.

The massive post also announced a civilian hiring freeze in a statement last week. The statement doesn’t reveal how much the cuts will save or how many jobs could be affected. Dalena Kanouse, a spokes- woman for Fort Hood, said she could not provide details Wednesday.

Cutbacks like those at Fort Hood are happening at Army facilities across the country, said Ned Christensen, a spokesman for the Army Installation Management Agency, which oversees the money for operating 119 posts.

“The Army’s at war,” Christensen said. “And that’s the primary place the funding is going.”


Fort Hood, located about 80 miles north of Austin near Killeen, covers 339 square miles in Bell and Coryell counties. More than 40,000 troops are stationed there.

Christensen said a stalled federal spending bill in Congress is contributing to the crunch. President Bush requested the $92.2 billion bill to fund war operations and other projects, but the House and Senate have yet to agree on a bill to send him.


But even when the money is approved, Christensen said, the Army’s posts face a $530 million shortfall at the end of this fiscal year.

Christensen said war costs aren’t the only culprit, citing a top-down restructuring of the Army and increased costs for supplies such as gasoline, which he said will cost the Army about $160 million more this year.

Christensen said the budget for operating and maintaining Fort Hood — analogous to a city budget — is about $243 million. He declined to comment on how the cuts would affect Fort Hood specifically.