WASHINGTON, D.C.—Governor Bill Walker and Alaska National Guard Adjutant General Laurie Hummel met at 7:30 a.m. Monday with General Raymond T. Odierno, the 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, at the Pentagon, to discuss the important presence of the brigades, soldiers and their families in Alaska.
“I can certainly appreciate the situation General Odierno is in, as the Army faces significant budget reductions,” Governor Walker said. “I enjoyed hearing about the General’s recent trip to Fort Wainwright, where he and his wife met with soldiers and their spouses. I am especially heartened to hear General Odierno will take into account input from Alaskans during the listening sessions tonight in Anchorage and tomorrow night in Fairbanks before making a final decision on how Army budget cuts will affect Alaska.”
By 2017, the Army will have 490,000 active-duty soldiers, after a troop reduction of 80,000. By 2018, the Army will have to make further cuts to reduce troop strength to 450,000. General Odierno shared with Governor Walker he expects to decide on the Army’s 2018 force numbers by June.
General Odierno thanked Governor Walker for seeking the meeting to express Alaska’s interest in the Army. Governor Walker said he would like to have another meeting with General Odierno before he makes his final decisions.
“Alaska needs the Army, and the Army needs Alaska,” Governor Walker said. “My father, Ed, enlisted in the Army in 1937, and served with the Alaska Scouts during World War 2. We must ensure the Army continues to have a strong presence in our state.”
Governor Walker will testify at the Army’s troop reduction listening session in Fairbanks on Tuesday, and Lieutenant Governor Mallott will testify at the Army’s troop reduction listening session today in Anchorage.
During his time in Washington, D.C., Governor Walker also attended the National Governors Association’s winter conference and met with senior White House officials.