Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Avoid Downsizing At Schofield Barracks, Fort Shafter

January 28, 2015
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today spoke out against potential downsizing at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter during the United States Department of the Army’s Community Listening Session regarding proposed Army personnel reductions.
 
In a video message to forum attendees, Congresswoman Gabbard outlined the serious negative impacts of the worst-case scenario downsizing.
 
“The worst-case scenario facing us today is the removal of 19,800 servicemembers and civilians from Hawai‘i (3,800 from Fort Shafter and 16,000 from Schofield Barracks), and an associated 30,000 family members,” said Congresswoman Gabbard. “The estimated impact would be a decrease of 5% of Honolulu’s population and a $1.35 billion hit to Hawai‘i’s economy. Such drastic action would create a ripple effect for defense and military spending in our state, which makes up 18 percent of our economy. While there is an obvious need for economic diversification, that goal must be pursued in tandem with keeping our strongest industries productive.”
 
Full text of the video message is below:
 
Aloha, and mahalo for attending today's public listening session regarding the potential downsizing at Schofield Barracks and Ft. Shafter
 
As you know, the issue before us today is a serious one. These two military installations are critical not only for Hawai‘i's economy, but to the national military-strategic posture of the United States.
 
Importantly, the Army’s presence in Hawai‘i has always been rooted in the significance of Hawai‘i’s geographic location. Nowhere else in the world is it so clear that our economic and national security interests are deeply impacted by potential threats arising in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States Army’s mission executed from Hawai‘i’s geographically strategic location is a critical element of the U.S. strategy to rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.
 
However, we are presented with difficult choices largely as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011. 
 
In my opinion, these  blunt across-the-board sequester cuts provide no flexibility, and are not good policy, and we are seeing why today.
 
The worst-case scenario facing us today is the removal of 19,800 servicemembers and civilians from Hawai‘i (3,800 from Fort Shafter and 16,000 from Schofield Barracks), and an associated 30,000 family members. The estimated impact would be a decrease of 5% of Honolulu’s population and a $1.35 billion hit to Hawai‘i’s economy.
 
Such drastic action would create a ripple effect for defense and military spending in our state, which makes up 18 percent of our economy. While there is an obvious need for economic diversification, that goal must be pursued in tandem with keeping our strongest industries productive.
 
A loss of this magnitude would also mean crippling impacts to the unique and indispensable assets available to Pacific Command for regional security and stability. The loss of Army forces stationed in Hawai‘i would fundamentally undermine current efforts to build a sustainable U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific, and limit our ability to build relationships with partner countries and promote stability in the region.
 
This forum is how you make your voices heard. No matter what side of this debate you fall on, your attendance here today is an exercise of civic duty. The questions surrounding the potential downsizing are significant to our community. I wish I could be with you today as you discuss an important part of our state's future. I too am listening to your concerns about the implications of these potential cuts on Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter.  I encourage you to contact me with any questions you have.
 
Aloha, and I wish you a productive listening session today. 
 
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