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Ironduke
22 Dec 03,, 04:03
Schofield to get Stryker brigade

Associated Press


HONOLULU — The Pentagon announced Wednesday that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has given final approval to basing one of the military’s new fast-moving Stryker brigades with the 25th Infantry Division (Light) at Schofield Barracks on Oahu, Army officials in Hawaii said.
Rumsfeld last week approved plans that provide for the fielding of two additional Stryker brigades at Schofield and with the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., the Pentagon said in a news release.

The Schofield brigade is expected to be operational by 2006, with the Pennsylvania brigade becoming operational two to four years later, the Pentagon said.

The Stryker brigade is key to the Pentagon’s goal of remaking the Army into a more versatile force that can move quickly onto distant battlefields. The units, built around the eight-wheeled Stryker vehicle, are far quicker than a traditional armored unit centered around the tank.

The Pentagon plans to have about 3,500 soldiers in each brigade capable of arriving at a hot spot within days.

“Eventually, the entire Army will transform,” Col. David Anderson, commander of U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii, said in a statement. “This step places the 25th Infantry Division out front — as it should be — in this effort.

“It will secure our Army’s future in Hawaii, improve our infrastructure and contribute significantly to the economy.”

The placement of the brigade in Hawaii was somewhat expected.

In recent months, members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation, including Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Neil Abercrombie, both D-Hawaii, have said they received assurances that a Stryker brigade would be placed in Hawaii.

Earlier this year, a defense spending bill approved by the House and Senate included $433 million for Hawaii projects, including funds earmarked for a new Stryker brigade.

Schofield officials already have completed an environmental impact assessment of plans to convert island military facilities to accommodate the Stryker brigade and are soliciting public comment on the proposal.

The brigades for Hawaii and Pennsylvania are the fifth and sixth to be given final approval.

Rumsfeld directed the Army to prepare its Stryker plan in December 2002 memorandum. The order approved four brigades and directed further study on two more before the Army would receive final approval for its plan, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon approval gives the Army permission to begin expending funds for the new brigades’ acquisition and fielding.


http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2492479.php