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10th Mountain among units ordered to prepare for steep cuts in headquarters

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FORT DRUM — The headquarters of the 10th Mountain Division is moving quickly to provide scenarios to the Army about the changes it can make to slash its budget and manpower by 25 percent.

The local effort follows an internal Army memo calling for the creation of a group that will present a set of “comprehensive recommendations” by Sept. 11 to make reductions at headquarters elements at the 2-star level and above, which would include the local division, and in other areas of the service’s spending. The internal memo, dated Aug. 14, is signed by Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno. The move was first reported Monday afternoon by Defense News.

“Let there be no mistake, aggregate reductions WILL TAKE PLACE,” the document reads. “The money is gone; our mission now is to determine how best to allocate these cuts while maintaining readiness. We expect Army leaders, military and civilian, to seize this opportunity to re-shape our Army. This effort will take PRIORITY OVER ALL other Headquarters, Department of the Army activities.”

A Department of the Army spokesman at the Pentagon said on Tuesday afternoon that he could not immediately verify the document’s authenticity.

The planning comes as the military faces cuts of more than $50 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, based on the federally approved sequestration that will run into the next decade.

“To ensure Army readiness at these reduced budget levels, we must make the best and maximum use of every single dollar provided to the Army,” the memo states.

Lt. Col. David A. Konop, division spokesman, said the division has already crafted recommendations for a few different reduction scenarios, and is in the process of presenting them to higher Army leadership. He did not have information immediately available about how much a 25 percent cut would amount to in dollars, or which things would be cut in the different reduction scenarios.

The memo advises headquarters to make reductions by “consolidation, reductions, and closing organizations,” and that moving personnel to subordinate units was not an appropriate way to find savings.

The “2013 Army Focus Area Review Group” will be led by Thomas Hawley and Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, who will oversee several smaller teams.

In addition to teams focused on reductions to institutional and operational headquarters, the group also will focus on reductions in operational force structure and ramps, readiness, acquisition work force, installation services and investments and Army C31 and Cyber.

The memo can be seen at http://wdt.me/zdHXBK.

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