(News Briefs January
The Town of Olive’s January 3 reorganization meeting
held no surprises... unsurprisingly.
The big shift was seeing the town’s previous 5-0 Democratic
majority shrink by a seat as Republican challenger Pete Friedel
was given the oath of office, replacing Linda Burkhardt, who
was given her adieus at the board’s end-of-year meeting
in the days following Christmas. Besides a litany of re-appointments,
the chief business of the day was for returning supervisor
Bert Leifeld to make his annual committee liaison appointments,
with Burkhardt’s role on the town’s Recreation
Committee handed over to Helen Chase and Friedel named as
liaison to the town’s Transfer Station and Recycling
Center Committee, which is currently dealing with a shed collapse
and accompanying insurance claims at present.
According to Leifeld, things at the landfill, where a collapse
occurred after the heavy snows of mid-December, were back
up and operational already with all debris removed and insurance
matters moving ahead.
In other business, Leifeld noted that there had been a meeting
with Onteora school officials to solicit support in the town’s
tax case against New York City, currently set for a hearing
in April. Things went cordially, Leifeld said, but nothing
has yet solidified on that front.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne rejected the
proposals of two American Indian tribes to operate casinos
in Sullivan County earlier this month, effectively killing
the idea of gambling in the Catskills and drawing complaints
from various pro-casino factions in the region and state,
including the Governor. For the casinos to move forward, Kempthorne
said he would need to authorize the placement of off-Indian
reservation land in trust at the two sites. He refused to
The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe wants to create a casino at Monticello
Raceway, and the Stockbridge Munsee Tribe has been developing
plans for a gaming hall in Bridgeville.
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the state
Legislature and then-Gov. George Pataki approved the creation
of a total of three Indian-run casinos in Ulster and Sullivan
counties as a way to boost state revenue. But final approval
of the gaming halls rests with the interior secretary. There
currently is no plan on the table for a casino in Ulster County,
though towns is the southern part of the county have expressed
interest in becoming home to one. And former County Ligislative
Chairman Ward Todd went to contract for one during his tenure
in office… although the matter was later allowed to
Both Congressman Maurice Hinchey and State Sen. John Bonacic
said the presence of casinos could breathe new life into the
Catskills and Hudson Valley.
and criticized Kempthorne’s ruling.
Officials at Empire Resorts, which owns Monticello Gaming
and Raceway, held out hope following the decision, stating
that they would continue to look at “every opportunity
to realize the promise of jobs and economic development for
the people of Sullivan County.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which has opposed development
of Native American casinos in Sullivan County, Monday, said
the decision by US Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
not to approve them was “a major victory” for
the people of the Catskills and New York State and noted that
it is unlikely that there would be a reversal of that decision
any time soon.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is concerned about the
impact the casinos would have on Route 17 traffic, air quality
and new development impacting the quality of life in the Catskills.
“This is a tremendous victory for Catskills residents
who have fought to preserve the quality of life in our region,”
read a statement from Catskill Mountainkeeper, a new regional
organization brought together to fight the issue. “This
is a great opportunity for us to leave behind the divisive
battle over casinos that has divided communities for so long
and look to economic development we can all get behind.”
Meanwhile, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe has announced that it
has filed a suit against Kempthorne seeking to overturn his
decision, alleging the secretary’s decision is arbitrary
and capricious, an abuse of discretion, has no basis in the
law, and constitutes an abuse of his position as secretary.
David Donaldson was the unanimous choice to continue as chairman
of the Ulster County Legislature at its recent reorganization
meeting, with Republican Wayne Harris seconding his nomination,
saying Democrat Donaldson had worked well on a bipartisan
In his following state-of-the-county message, Donaldson then
said the legislature had been “quite productive by any
standard” on numerous fronts. “We created long-needed
reforms with an eye toward efficiency, accountability, while
Donaldson touted economic development, tourism promotion and
preservation of open space. And said the county’s biggest
remaining challenge is in balancing taxpayer concerns with
essential services. Taxes are up under four percent in the
2008 budget, but Donaldson warned that may not continue.
Republican Ulster County legislators later expressed confidence
in the Chairman’s ability to lead the county toward
a new form of government in 2009. As also stated in his annual
address, Donaldson will more or less guide the county’s
changeover to a voter-approved charter form of government,
to be led by an elected county executive, starting in January
“(The transition) is going to take all 33 legislators,
but Dave certainly has the leadership qualities to make it
a smooth transition,” said Robert Aiello, R-Saugerties,
who singularly praised the concept of having a research center
to draw in large companies.
“This is a great idea and (the county) is on the right
track with universities acting as a partnership to the private
sector,” said Aiello. “Companies will migrate
towards a center like that. ... We desperately need to do
something because we’re losing all our college kids
and basically turning this into a senior citizen place.”
The state Health Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency have identified Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia and Greene
counties as high-risk areas for radon contamination, Gov.
Eliot Spitzer announced earlier this month, urging alongside
state Health Commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines that New Yorkers
have their homes tested for the colorless, odorless gas that
comes from the breakdown of uranium in salt, rock and water.
The EPA said radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer
in the country and that 20,000 lung cancer deaths annually
can be attributed to the gas. Radon occurs naturally in the
Earth but becomes a problem when it enters the home. It gets
indoors through cracks and openings in the homes foundation
and walls and around sump pumps.
New Yorkers can obtain radon test kits for $6.75 from the
state Health Department. Results of the test are sent directly
to whoever submitted the kit. To get a kit, call (800) 458-1158,
toll-free, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Alarmed at the increasingly populist tone of the 2008 political
campaign, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has
issued a promise to spend millions of dollars to defeat candidates
deemed to be anti-business, saying he is planning, “To
build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when
it bites you in the butt, you bleed.” The warning from
the nation’s largest trade association came against
a background of mounting popular concern over the condition
of the economy. A weak record of job creation, the sub-prime
mortgage crisis, declining home values and other problems
have all helped make the economy a major campaign issue.
Presidential candidates in particular have responded to the
public concern. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina
has been the bluntest populist voice, but other front-running
Democrats, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York
and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, have also called for change
on behalf of middle-class voters. On the Republican side,
former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - emerging as an unexpected
front-runner after winning the Iowa caucuses - has used populist
themes in his effort to woo independent voters, blasting bonus
pay for corporate chief executives and the effect of unfettered
globalization on workers.
Reacting to what it sees as a potentially hostile political
climate, Chamber President Tom Donohue said, the chamber will
seek to punish candidates who target business interests with
their rhetoric or policy proposals, including congressional
and state-level candidates. Although Donohue shied away from
precise figures, he indicated that his organization would
spend in excess of the approximately $60 million it spent
in the last presidential cycle. That approaches the spending
levels planned by the largest labor unions.
The chamber has become a significant force in state and national
politics under Donohue’s decade of leadership. Once
a notably bipartisan trade association with a limited budget
and limited influence, it has hugely increased its political
fundraising and developed new ways to spend money on behalf
of pro-business candidates. Under Donohue, the organization
has also frequently aligned itself with GOP priorities. Under
a system Donohue pioneered, corporations contribute money
to the chamber, which then finances attack ads targeting individual
candidates without revealing the name of the businesses involved
in the ads.
The GOP has meanwhile put out official word that it is seeking
millionaire candidates, wherever possible. Should prove rich…
In conjunction with a number of other county departments,
the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office conducted a “Deadbeat
Dad” sweep throughout the state over the last few months.
With the aid of the county Department of Social Services Child
Support Enforcement, the District Attorney’s office
and Family Court, detectives and uniformed personnel from
the Sheriff’s Office focused their attention on “deadbeat
dads” that owed amounts of money ranging from $5,000
Eleven individuals were arrested stemming from the sweep and
the cumulative amount owed was over $210,000. Over $37,000
that was owed in child support was collected due to this effort.
Furthermore, the various departments stated that they will
continue their efforts to apprehend those individuals that
are significantly behind in child support payments by conducting
more sweeps of this nature.
Among those arrested during the sweep were William Robert
Slaughter of 74 Parker Lane, Olive; and John Szymanski, also
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said late last
year that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits
for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.
The policy, set forth in a new regulation, allows employers
to establish two classes of retirees, with more comprehensive
benefits for those under 65 and more limited benefits - or
none at all - for those older.
More than 10 million retirees rely on employer-sponsored health
plans as a primary source of coverage or as a supplement to
Medicare. Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance
rose an average of 6.1 percent this year and have increased
78 percent since 2001. Because of the rising cost of health
care and the increased life expectancy of workers, the commission
said, many employers refuse to provide retiree health benefits
or even to negotiate on the issue.
In general, the commission observed, employers are not required
by federal law to provide health benefits to either active
or retired workers.
AARP and other advocates for older Americans attacked the
rule. “This rule gives employers free rein to use age
as a basis for reducing or eliminating health care benefits
for retirees 65 and older,” said Christopher G. Mackaronis,
a lawyer for AARP, which represents millions of people age
50 or above and which had sued in an effort to block issuance
of the final regulation. “Ten million people could be
affected - adversely affected - by the rule.”
Meanwhile, Medicare prescription drug plan premiums are scheduled
to rise by an average of almost 25 percent in 2008.
And at the same time, fears of a U.S. recession coupled with
a sudden spike in oil prices replaced terrorism, pandemic
disease outbreaks and short-term disasters resulting from
climate change as the issues global business leaders are most
worried about, said the “Global Risks 2008” report.
The report, which is based on workshops involving corporate
leaders, professors and risk analysts, also listed dwindling
food supplies as a growing concern.
The report coincides with a World Bank study released Wednesday
that expressed concern about the faltering U.S. housing market
and its impact on global financial markets.
Oil prices soared past $100 a barrel for the first time ever
in recent weeks, reaching that milestone amid an unshakeable
view that global demand for oil and petroleum products will
continue to outstrip supplies. Separately, the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries said its member nations may
not be able to meet demand as early as 2024, though OPEC also
said that deadline could slide for decades if members increase
production more quickly.
The folks at Phoenicia’s Key Bank have reported that
two senior customers called to tell them that they had received
phone calls from the social security office (supposedly) and
that new cards were going to be issued. First, however, the
senior needed to confirm the social security, their bank,
and their account numbers, as well as their address. Unfortunately,
one of the seniors fell for the scam.
Hurricane Katrina’s victims have put a price tag on
their suffering and it is staggering - including one plaintiff
seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion, or $3,014,170,389,176,410
to be exact for some 489,000 claims filed against the federal
government over damage from the failure of levees and flood
walls following the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.
Of the total number of claims, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
said it has received 247 for at least $1 billion apiece, including
the one for $3 quadrillion. “It’s important to
the person who filed it, so we’re taking every single
claim seriously,” Corps spokeswoman Amanda Jones said.
Some residents may have grossly exaggerated their claims to
send a message to the corps, which has accepted blame for
poorly designing the failed levees.
Daniel Becnel, Jr., a lawyer who said his clients have filed
more than 60,000 claims, said measuring Katrina’s devastation
in dollars and cents is a nearly impossible task. “There’s
no way on earth you can figure it out,” he said. “The
trauma these people have undergone is unlike anything that
has occurred in the history of our country.”
The corps released zip codes, but no names, for the 247 claims
of at least $1 billion. The list includes a $77 billion claim
by the city of New Orleans. Fourteen involve a wrongful death
claim. Fifteen were filed by businesses, including several
insurance companies. Little is known about the person who
claimed $3 quadrillion. It was filed in Baker, 93 miles northwest
of New Orleans. Baker is far from the epicenter of Katrina’s
destruction, but the city has a trailer park where hundreds
of evacuees have lived since the storm.
Katrina, which is blamed for more than 1,600 deaths in Louisiana
and Mississippi, is considered the most destructive storm
to ever hit the U.S. It caused at least $60 billion in insured
losses and could cost Gulf Coast states up to $125 billion,
according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
‘We’ll have procedures and we’re not going
to advertise what they are.’
A Town of Rochester man was taken into custody in late December
after a report of a fire at his home led police to find two
marijuana grow rooms inside the house, state police at Ellenville
said. They noted that they and the Ulster County Sheriff’s
Office responded to a home on Route 209 in the Town of Rochester
in the afternoon to assist the local fire department with
a reported chimney fire.
Fire officials were unable to locate any fire after checking
the chimney and the furnace of the home, and the occupant
of the house, Ernie V. Ferreira, 23, of Allentown, Pa., was
present while fire officials continued to search the interior
walls of the home, police said.
Police said fire personnel opened a door to a small bedroom
and found what appeared to be a fully operating marijuana
grow room, along with more plants growing in an adjacent room.
The Ellenville state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations
unit responded and were notified of the findings made by fire
officials, police said.
Ferreira would not consent to a search of his residence, and
a search warrant was obtained from Town of Marbletown Justice
Davenport and carried out at the residence later the same
afternoon. The search yielded a Charter Arms 38-caliber revolver
as well as about 28 marijuana plants, police said.
Ferreira was charged with misdemeanor criminal possession
of marijuana and misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon.
He was arraigned in Village of Ellenville Court and remanded
to Ulster County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.
Over 11,000 people have signed an online petition to nominate
famed folk singer and peace activist Pete Seeger for the 2008
Nobel Peace Prize.
Seeger, 88, of Beacon, was founder of Clearwater, the environmental
organization that in 1969 launched the Hudson River Sloop
Clearwater as an educational vessel to travel the river as
an educational vehicle to clean up and preserve the natural
Supporters of the effort may log on to www.nobelprize4pete.org.
New Jersey has became the second state to enter a compact
that would eliminate the Electoral College’s power to
choose a president if enough states endorse the idea by passing
legislation that approves delivering the state’s 15
electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
Maryland - with 10 electoral votes - had been the only state
to pass the compact into law. The compact would take effect
only if enough states - those with a majority of votes in
the Electoral College - agreed to it. A candidate needs 270
of 538 electoral votes to win.
The compact has also passed both houses of the Illinois Legislature,
according to the National Popular Vote movement, and has been
approved by one legislative house in Arkansas, Colorado and
North Carolina. Governors in California and Hawaii, though,
vetoed bills to join the compact.
The goal is to ensure that the national popular vote winner
becomes president. Democrats who sponsored the bill have noted
that their party’s 2000 presidential nominee, Al Gore,
won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College. Sponsors
contend the agreement would ensure that all states are competitive
in presidential elections and make all votes important. It
also would guarantee the presidency to the person who received
the most votes.
Republicans have criticized the bill as undermining federal
Meanwhile, the federal agency in charge of policing the torrent
of political spending during the upcoming presidential primaries
has, for all practical purposes, shut its doors as of New
The Federal Election Commission effectively stopped business
on Jan. 1 because Congress remains locked in a standoff over
the confirmation of President Bush’s nominees to the
panel. As a consequence, the FEC will enter 2008 with just
two of six members - short of the four votes needed for the
commission to take any official action. And although the 375
auditors, lawyers and investigators at the FEC will continue
to process work already before them, a variety of matters
that fall to the commissioners will be placed on hold indefinitely.
Chief among them are deciding whether to launch investigations
into possible campaign finance violations and determining
Seven presidential candidates have applied to receive public
matching funds for their campaigns, but they may not be able
to access the money until the FEC certifies their requests.
That takes four votes.
The FEC is composed of three appointees from each party, all
nominated by the president. There is already one vacancy,
and three recess appointments will expire on Dec. 31. The
potential for an FEC shutdown has been looming for weeks,
as a handful of Democratic senators voiced opposition to one
of Bush’s nominees to the commission, Hans A. von Spakovsky
due to pronlems that arose during his tenure in the Alberto
Gonzalez-led Dept. of Justice. The blockade worked, but Republican
leaders in the Senate countered with one of their own. If
von Spakovsky were rejected, they would not allow the two
Democratic nominees to be appointed, either.
“The Democrats have picked their nominees, and we’ve
picked ours,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) said as the Senate prepared to recess for the holidays.
“What we have here,” he said, is “the Democrats
trying to veto one of our nominees. That isn’t going
to happen. They’re all four going to go together, or
none of them will be approved.”
A group of 11 environmental organizations, including Catskill
Mountainkeeper, have announced they will file a lawsuit against
the US Energy Department over its final designation of a Mid-Atlantic
National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor. That designation
could pave the way for construction of the New York Regional
Interconnection power line from Oneida County to Orange County.
Environmental groups, municipalities and residents up and
down the proposed NRYI route oppose the project.
The National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designation
would allow it to exercise the right of eminent domain to
Joining the lawsuit are Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation
Association, Environmental Advocates of New York, Clean Air
Council, Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, Civil War Preservation
Trust, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Brandywine Conservancy and
Natural Lands Trust.
In addition, the state Public Service Commission and the Department
of Environmental Conservation have filed separate petitions
with the federal Department of Energy seeking a rehearing
on the agency’s decision to make a large area of New
York State part of a National Interest Electric Transmission
Corridor. In the petitions, the state contends that federal
authorities disregarded key energy issues and failed to adequately
assess potential significant environmental impacts.
The governor said designation of the transmission corridor
would set the stage for the federal government “to preempt
New York’s legitimate oversight and process for reviewing
and siting transmission projects within our state’s
Over $400,000 in state funding secured through the State Senate’s
Republican Majority has flowed to anti-NYRI group Communities
Against Regional Interconnect, Senator John Bonacic recently
announced, noting that the funding is the first installment
of up to $1 million allocated by Senate Republicans to oppose
the NYRI plan.
The US vice president, Dick Cheney, was behind a controversial
decision to block California’s attempt to impose tough
emission limits on car manufacturers, according to insiders
at the government Environmental Protection Agency.
Staff at the agency, which announced last week that California’s
proposed limits were redundant, said the agency’s chief
went against their expert advice after car executives met
Cheney, and a Chrysler executive delivered a letter to the
EPA saying why the state should not be allowed to regulate
greenhouse gases. They added that the agency’s head,
the Bush appointee Stephen Johnson, ignored their conclusions
and shut himself off from consultation in the month before
the announcement. He then informed them of his decision and
instructed them to provide the legal rationale for it, they
In an editorial, the New York Times described the decision
as, “an indefensible act of executive arrogance that
can only be explained as the product of ideological blindness
and as a political payoff to the automobile industry.”
Johnson said that because Bush signed an energy bill last
week which raised fuel economy standards, there was no justification
for separate state regulation. The president, the agency said,
had provided a “clear national solution” and there
was no need for a “confusing patchwork of state rules
to reduce America’s climate footprint from vehicles.”
But Johnson’s staff gave him the opposite advice, warning
him that should he block California, the state would probably
sue him in the courts and would probably win. The state’s
governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, immediately announced that
he would challenge the EPA’s ruling in the courts, describing
it as “legally indefensible.”
That lawsuit has since been joined by New York and 14 other
states, including Massachusetts, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware,
Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
In other Cheney news, a veteran National Archives official
that challenged claims by Cheney’s office that it was
exempt from federal rules governing classified information.
Ended up with Cheney’s staff arguing for the elimination
of the official’s job. After months of struggle, he
finally decided to leave his position… stating publicly
that his fight with Cheney’s office was a “contributing”
factor in his decision to retire after 34 years of government
Two new studies of the Hudson Landing development proposed
for the City of Kingston say the project violates policies
adopted by the city in its Local Waterfront Revitalization
Program and is inconsistent with state coastal management
guidelines, according to the Friends of Kingston Waterfront
After reviewing materials submitted by developer AVR Realty
to the Kingston Planning board, two expert analysts said the
1,750 unit waterfront development would have unacceptable
visual impacts within Kingston, from vantage points on the
Hudson River from many areas of Dutchess County.
A second student found the project “would appear to
be out of character with the Hudson River National Historic
Landmark District and would impair the setting of the Estates
District Scenic Area of Statewide Significance.”
Stay tuned to see what compromises might occur there…
Over one thousand lawyers - including former Governor Mario
Cuomo and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein
- have signed onto the above statement demanding wide-ranging
investigative hearings into unconstitutional and potentially
criminal activity by the Bush administration. Michael Ratner,
the Olive-based president of the Center for Constitutional
Rights and winner of the 2007 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative
Citizenship, said: “The majority of lawyers in this
country understand that the Bush administration has really
gone off the page of constitutional rights and off the page
of fundamental rights, and is willing to push the Congress
to restore those rights.”
Ratner noted that even with regard to the US attorney’s
investigations, where Congressional committees held Harriet
Miers, Josh Bolten, and Karl Rove in contempt, leadership
has failed to enforce these actions by bringing the resolutions
to a vote.
“Just announcing that investigations will be held and
subpoenas will be issued is terribly insufficient unless Congress
is willing to enforce the subpoenas by issuing contempt citations,”
Ratner said. “Congress has a constitutional duty to
oversee the activities of the executive branch and our entire
system of government is threatened when Congress simply folds
before an obstinate executive. Issuing contempt citations
against Bolten, Miers, and Rove should be Congress’s
first order of business in 2008.”
“This lawyers’ letter and the growing number of
signatures we’ll have on it, and prominent people -
it’s a way of saying to Congress, ‘You need some
backbone. You need to have a serious investigation, wherever
it might go, on these issues that really have taken the United
States out of the mainstream of human rights.’ It’s
absolutely critical,” added Ratner. “We’ve
opened up the door to illegality.... Unless we have accountability
on those illegalities, we’re going to be facing a very
bleak future in which fundamental rights will not really be
Ulster Tomorrow officials said at a county Chamber breakfast
the morning of January 15 that the next step in bringing Ulster
County to a new level of economic development would be to
consolidate economic development services, and that to complete
their goals, there needs to be a culture of change within
the county collectively.
Ulster Tomorrow Committee Chair Glenn Sutherland claimed “there
are too many agencies in the economic pie” in the county.
UCDC President Lance Matteson called on businesses to help
in this process by offering their time, services, and recommendations
to the county to promote the change. Finally, UCDC Board Chairman
Ron Marquette said the attitude of the county as a whole needs
to change for the county to catch up to the rest of the Hudson
“Maybe a year or a year and a half ago, the mindset
was pretty pessimistic that things were going to happen here,
or that it was even beyond our control, but with this culture
of collaboration, this culture of change, this culture of
leadership, the mindset has gotten much more positive,”
he said. “We have to get over the fact that it can’t
happen in Ulster County, that it always happens some place
else, and with leadership and a change in positive attitude,
I think it can happen.”
The officials feel that the new county charter and election
of a county executive come this fall will help foster this
new initiative, and that business leaders will embrace the
Ulster Tomorrow mission to increase jobs and improve affordability
Friends of Snuffy, an all-volunteer non-profit organization
helping stray dogs and cats, is sponsoring a fund-raising
costume party at Don Hills, 511 Greenwich Street, NY, NY on
Wednesday, January 30 th starting 8pm.
Come dressed as your favorite animal and dance to the music
of DJ Logic. elebrity judges will be on hand to award a weekend
retreat for two at the luxurious Emerson Resort and Spa, located
in the Catskill Mountains.
The entrance fee of $20.00 will go to direct funding for veterinary
care and adoption programs for dogs and cats throughout the
New York area.
For more information and to buy tickets visit www.friendsofsnuffy.com
The New Army
President Bush has approved what officials are describing
as the most significant realignment of the Army since World
War II, signing off on a plan that will keep more troops than
previously envisioned in Europe and add large numbers of soldiers
to bases in Colorado, Georgia and Texas, Army officials said
Wednesday. The basing plan is the final step in a detailed
program for deciding where a larger Army will live and train
in the years ahead, as it grows by 65,000 active-duty soldiers.
It significantly changes the military’s footprint from
before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and alters a global
basing plan adopted with great fanfare by the Pentagon in
2004. The commitment to keep about 10,000 extra troops in
Europe above the level of previous plans was advocated as
necessary to sustain training and other exercises with foreign
militaries, and as a hedge against risks to American security.
“The Army is undergoing the largest transformational
change since 1942,” General Cody said, as a full one-third
of the Army will be based at different stations by 2011. The
active-duty Army end-strength is scheduled to reach 547,000
by then, as the Army’s fighting force will grow to 48
brigade combat teams from 33 in 2003.
New construction for housing, headquarters and motor pools
- as well as health care and child care centers - will top
$66.4 billion by 2013, General Cody said, emphasizing that
the Army was paying special attention to quality-of-life issues
for the all-volunteer force. He said that under the new plan,
combat brigades would live alongside and train with the support,
sustainment and intelligence units with which they would go