More than 300 people gathered Thursday to hear Gen. Don MacWillie speak about the impact of troop reductions on Fort Riley and the message was clear: the fort will not be negatively affected by the Army’s changes.
By 2017, the Army will have reduced its forces by 80,000 soldiers, getting back to where it was “pre-9/11 with normal promotion rates and a normal-sized army.” He said the changes will be gradual and therefore shouldn’t affect troops.
“The changes have nothing to do with the sequestration; they are a result of the budget control act of 2011,” MacWillie said.
Many officials including Manhattan’s new mayor, John Matta, spoke of ways soldiers, their spouses and children positively influence the surrounding communities with their presence and spending dollars.
“We can feel this whole community’s appreciation of our troops,“Matta said.
MacWillie stressed throughout the presentation that the army will “continue to stay transparent, connected and engaged” with the public and that they will “continue to take opinions back to army headquarters” for consideration.
“We have unprecedented involvement in the decisions being made,” MacWillie said.