By Oahu Council for Army Downsizing
July 28, 2014
Waianae, Hawaii - District 44 Candidate AL Frenzel concurs with proposed Army personnel cuts for Oahu and recommends an orderly transfer of Schofield, Wheeler and other facilities to the state of Hawaii.
The Department of Defense's recently released Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR 2014) calls for a reduction of as many as 130,000 active duty Army soldiers worldwide. To meet this fiscally constrained personnel cap the Army identified bases within 19 States to absorb these cuts; Hawaii is on the Army's cut list. Bases in Hawaii now being considered by the Army to meet these cuts include Schofield Barracks (16,000) and Fort Shafter (3,800). Retired Army colonel and candidate for state house District 44 (Wai'anae, Makaha, Ma'ili, and Makua) AL Frenzel recently announced his support for these drastic cuts. Frenzel recommends the State of Hawaii embrace these cuts and he calls for the return of Schofield Barracks, Wheeler AAF, Dillingham, Makua, and Kolekole pass access to the State of Hawaii.
Schofield Barracks' 2,861 family housing units and unaccompanied barracks facilities house 37,799 soldiers and their family members. Frenzel believes these newly built and newly renovated facilities would make a huge dent in DHHL's waiting list as well as providing accommodations for the growing homeless population on Oahu. He claims, "These homes could immediately provide truly affordable housing to deserving beneficiaries that have been on DHHL's waiting list for more than a lifetime in many cases."
The bases, property and facilities Frenzel recommends be turned over to the State are worth over one hundred billion dollars. Frenzel claims the value of these assets (most of which are new or completely renovated over the past 15 years) would greatly outweigh the short-term economic impact of losing the soldiers' payroll and local jobs supporting the Army in Hawaii. Frenzel claims the amount of money military members spend off base is often exaggerated and the construction boom on these installations is over. He states, "Many of the contactors that support base facilities would still be needed as the housing, facilities and infrastructure will still need to be maintained. Moreover, there will be many new contractor jobs necessary to clean up and mitigate environmental hazards that in some cases, such as the live fire ranges, may take decades to clean up.
When asked about the importance of Army forces on Oahu to national defense and regional military strategy, Frenzel commented that without critical cargo ships and readily available cargo airlift, the division at Schofield is isolated and severely handicapped by the tyranny of distance in the
Pacific. Army forces from the west coast can deploy much quicker to any hotspot in the Pacific. More importantly, he believes the Army on Oahu lacks critically needed 'forced entry' capability to allow it to enter hostile environments, a capability already possessed by the U.S. Marines presently on Oahu and throughout the Pacific. Frenzel stated, "The taxpayer cannot afford to pay for redundant forces competing to do the same job, especially when one [Army in Hawaii] is not capable or designed to deploy directly into the fray like the Marine forces in the Pacific are designed to
AL Frenzel has recently established the Oahu Council for Army Downsizing. He is inviting like-minded organizations throughout Oahu to be represented on the Council to join in a concerted effort to influence Oahu's citizens and their elected representatives to embrace the proposed downsizing.
Frenzel believes the state of Hawaii should not fight this issue as the other 18 States will desperately do, but instead, willingly agree to the cuts and ask the Congress and President Obama for a financial transition assistance package to ease the short-term impact that will affect some
businesses and jobs on Oahu. Organizations can find more information on the Oahu Council for Army Downsizing at www.OC4AD.com.
Frenzel said, "This is a 'once-in-a-century' opportunity; if military forces on Oahu are not cut during this round, then nothing will change militarily on Oahu — there will never be another round of cuts like this in any of our lifetimes."
AL Frenzel is a retired military colonel who wrote about, studied and taught force structuring of the Armed Forces at the U.S. Army War College between 1999 to 2002. He has been a resident of Makaha for 12 years, where he owns two businesses and is running for House District 44 (Wai'anae, Makaha, Ma'ili, and Makua).
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