Fort Bliss was the home of the Air Defense Artillery Center of Excellence and was responsible for air defense artillery training of U.S. soldiers and various allied nation soldiers until the BRAC 2005 Commission recommended the Center's relocation to Fort Sill, OK. It also the home of seven Forces Command warfighting units - the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the 204th MI Battalion, and the 978th Military Police Company. Over its distinguished history, Fort Bliss has served as an infantry post, a cavalry post, and the premier Air Defense Center of Excellence. With 1.1 million acres, this post is bigger than the state of Rhode Island and can accommodate every weapon system in the Army. Excellent ranges and training area, coupled with the third longest runway in the nation, make Fort Bliss a premiere facility for training, mobilization and deploying combat forces.
The U.S. Army's Air Defense and Artillery Center and Fort Bliss (USAADACENFB) is a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) installation. It is the only U.S. Army training installation in the continental U.S. capable of firing long-range Air Defense Artillery missiles, such as Patriot, HAWK and eventually the Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) System.
Fort Bliss, a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) installation, is comprised of approximately 1.12 million acres of land in Texas and New Mexico. The Main Cantonment Area of Fort Bliss is located adjacent to El Paso, Texas. The installation also includes McGregor Range (which is the subject of this LEIS) and Doņa Ana Range-North Training Areas in New Mexico, and the South Training Areas in Texas.
Fort Bliss is one of 16 installations under the management of TRADOC. It was the home of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Center and Fort Bliss (USAADACENFB), the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) School, and over 30 partner units and organizations. It is the second largest Army post, and is the only troop training installation in the U.S. capable of supporting long-range overland missile firings. Activities supported by Fort Bliss include troop and equipment training, as well as air defense and air-to-ground training, and ground maneuver training.
Fort Bliss is the largest installation in TRADOC (1.1 Million Acres), and the second largest in the Army (WSMR is the largest and is adjacent to Ft. Bliss). Ft. Bliss is the largest Maneuver Area in the Army, at 550 square miles, which is three times the size of the National Training Center. It provides the largest contiguous tract of virtually unrestricted airspace in the Continental United States (1500 Square Miles).
Over 90% of Fort Bliss training areas are located in New Mexico. Many of New Mexico National Guard (NMNG) units perform their two weeks of annual training at Fort Bliss, as well as weekend Field Training Exercises. In accordance with the National Total Force Policy, combined with a shrinking operations and training budget throughout DoD, it is only reasonable that Fort Bliss and the NMNG work in a spirit of cooperation to find cost effective ways to train. Therefore the NMNG and Fort Bliss established an Interagency Support Agreement (ISA) for ITAM support to NMNG when training on Fort Bliss or in the NMNG training areas. This ISA provides both Fort Bliss and NMNG a means to enhance training through use of the Training Management Support resources of Fort Bliss.
Fort Bliss is comprised of a complex of facilities, training areas, and ranges to support training and test activities of the Army and other organizations, including the Main Cantonment Area, and the Fort Bliss Training Complex: McGregor Range, Doņa Ana Range-North Training Areas, and South Training Areas.
Currently, four air-defense brigades assigned to the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) are stationed at Fort Bliss. These units utilize McGregor Range to support firing of Patriot missiles, unit FTXs, and individual training at the Meyer Range Complex. The U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Battalion (USACASB) provides the management, control, maintenance, and operation of the Fort Bliss field training areas, including McGregor Range. The organization's responsibilities also include scheduling and controlling the overlying airspace (Restricted Area R-5103), range camps, and associated facilities and equipment.
The ADA School educates and trains U.S. military students (active duty and reserve components), civilians, and students of selected allied forces, in air defense artillery and other subjects that support the air defense mission. The 6th ADA Brigade supports the ADA School through advanced individual training, and supports training of U.S. Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserves, Marine Corps, allies, and other students. The 6th ADA Brigade operates in a semi-classroom environment on McGregor Range with limited field exercises. The 6th ADA Brigade uses McGregor Range for training with Bradley Linebacker, Avenger, and man-portable Stinger missiles.
Ft. Bliss will continue to be a valuable training ground for U.S. and allied military units. Future use and development of the ranges will be driven by the mission of the installation. First and foremost, Ft. Bliss' mission underscores the necessity to be prepared for combat operations with trained and ready forces which can deploy rapidly to areas of crisis. This includes active duty (FORSCOM) ADA brigades stationed at Ft. Bliss and reserve components which will activate and mobilize during an emergency.
The Ft. Bliss Training Complex (FBTC) consist of three major areas -- McGregor Ranges, Dona Ana Ranges, and the North and South Training Areas. McGregor Ranges include McGregor Range, Meyer Small Arms Range, SHORAD Range, and Orogrande Range. Each of the ranges has an appropriate complement of range support facilities. Within the FBTC, there are three base camps (McGregor, Dona Ana, and Orogrande).
The training activities occurring on these ranges are extremely diverse and are dependent on the unique characteristics of the terrain of each area. The type of training varies from small unit ground troop maneuvers, to aerial training missions including parachute drops, helicopter and other aircraft operations, live artillery fire, combat vehicle maneuvering, and high altitude missile firings. Ft. Bliss supports the training requirements of a variety of U.S. and allied military units as well as other federal agencies.
The natural environmental setting and diversity of the Ft. Bliss Training Complex are unique among U.S. military installations. The combined ranges and training areas encompass more than 1 million acres, approximately 70 miles from north to south and approximately 30 miles from east to west. Elevations range from 3,900 feet near the South Training Area to 8,600 feet in the Organ Mountains. Within its boundaries are grazing, forest, and remote areas that support hunting and other forms of public outdoor recreation. These lands also contain sensitive ecosystems, and protected cultural and historic resources.
In 1849, after a year of reconnaissance, seven companies of the Third Infantry were ordered to the vital mountain pass, El Paso del Norte, which originally was a settlement divided by the Rio Grande. In time, the settlement became two separate cities, today's El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. The troops came 673 miles from San Antonio, through hostile Indian country. Three months later they had established a military post on the banks north of the Rio Grande in an area north of today's Union Depot. In 1854, the Army post was named Fort Bliss in honor of Lieutenant Colonel W. W. S. Bliss, a scholar who was an aide to General Zachary Taylor.
During the first few decades of its existence, Fort Bliss was moved five times, twice abandoned as excess to military needs, and once, during the Civil War, flew the Confederate flag. Permanent buildings, of which a few still stand, were constructed at the post in 1892. From 1902 on through World War I, Fort Bliss was one of the nation's foremost cavalry posts. In 1914, General John J. Pershing assumed command of Fort Bliss and its 60,000 troops. Early Signal Corps aircraft were stationed there and the First Cavalry Division made its headquarters there from 1921 until departing for duty in the South Pacific during World War II. Before the end of World War II, Fort Bliss became an antiaircraft artillery center and became fully mechanized.
The Mescalero Apache have lands within the Fort Bliss Military Reservation where there are four known sacred peaks and some additional sites presently kept secret by the people. The four known locations are Guadalupe Peak, Organ Mountain, Three Sisters and Oscura Peak. All indications are that these peaks are part of the ancient history of the people, places where ceremonies were revealed, and sites which require continual ceremonial caretaking. Great care must be taken in making contact with traditional Mescaleros. The tribe is split along conservative/progressive lines because of a desire by the tribal government to accept an atomic waste treatment project and this business is viewed as anathema by traditional people.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: Realign Fort Bliss, TX, by relocating air defense artillery units to Fort Sill and relocating 1st Armored Division and various echelons above division units from Germany and Korea to Fort Bliss, TX. Realign Fort Sill by relocating an artillery (Fires) brigade to Fort Bliss. Realign Fort Hood, TX, by relocating maneuver battalions, a support battalion, and aviation units to Fort Bliss, TX. Realign Fort Riley, KS, by inactivating various units, activating a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) and relocating 1st Infantry Division units and various echelons above division units from Germany and Korea to Fort Riley, KS. Realign Fort Campbell, KY, by relocating an attack aviation battalion to Fort Riley, KS.
Additional Recommendations: Relocating the units listed in this recommendation to Fort Bliss, Fort Riley, and Fort Sill would take advantage of available infrastructure and training land. DoD estimated that Fort Bliss was capable of training modular formations, both mounted and dismounted, at home station with sufficient land and facilities to test, simulate, or fire all organic weapon systems. Relocating 1st Armored Division units and echelons above division (EAD) units to Fort Bliss would transform it from an institutional training installation into a major mounted maneuver training installation. This would avoid overcrowding and overuse at other installations by stationing them at one of the installations with the greatest capacity. It also would create a potential opportunity for enhanced Operational Testing due to the close proximity of Fort Bliss to White Sands Missile Range. Relocating the Artillery (Fires) Brigade to Fort Bliss would collocate the artillery with the maneuver units at Fort Bliss and would vacate space at Fort Sill for the ADA unit. The Army obtained approval to temporarily station a BCT at Fort Hood in 2005 and another BCT at Fort Bliss in 2006. This recommendation would validate the stationing of that BCT at Fort Bliss and would relocate two maneuver battalions, an armored reconnaissance squadron and a support battalion from Fort Hood to support the activation at Fort Bliss. Relocating these battalions would provide the assets necessary to accomplish the activation.
DoD's review of community infrastructure attributes revealed some issues regarding the ability of the communities to support forces, missions, and personnel. The City of El Paso, TX (Fort Bliss) and the City of Manhattan, KS (Fort Riley) would have to cooperate fully and quickly to assess requirements and implement them, especially in the areas of housing and schools. When moving activities from Fort Hood to Fort Bliss, DoD estimated that four attributes would improve (Housing, Medical Health, Safety, and Population Center) and one (Employment) would not be as robust. When moving activities from Fort Bliss to Fort Sill, DoD estimated that two attributes would improve (Cost of Living, and Employment) and six (Housing, Education, Medical Health, Safety Population Center and Utilities) would not be as robust.
Environmentally, An Air Conformity determination and New Source Review and permitting effort would be required at Fort Bliss. To preserve cultural and archeological resources, training restrictions might be imposed and increased operational delays and costs would be possible at Fort Bliss and tribal consultations might be required. Further analysis would be required to determine the extent of new noise impacts at Bliss. This recommendation would result in significant additional water demands for the Fort Bliss region and therefore the installation would likely have to purchase or develop new potable water sources if groundwater sources were not sufficient. Further analysis would be required to assess long-term regional water impacts.
In another recommendation, DoD would realign Fort Bliss, TX, by relocating the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Center & School to Fort Sill, OK. This would consolidate the Air Defense Artillery Center & School with the Field Artillery Center & School at Fort Sill to establish a Net Fires Center. This recommendation would consolidate Net Fires training and doctrine development at a single location. The moves would advance the Maneuver Support Center (MANSCEN) model, currently in place at Ft. Leonard Wood, which consolidated the Military Police, Engineer, and Chemical Centers and Schools. This recommendation would improve the MANSCEN concept by consolidating functionally related Branch Centers & Schools, which would foster consistency, standardization, and training proficiency. It would also facilitate task force stabilization, by combining operational forces with institutional training. In addition, it would consolidate both ADA and Field Artillery skill level I courses at one location, which would allow the Army to reduce the total number of Military Occupational Skills training locations (reducing the TRADOC footprint). Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 6,020 jobs (3,369 direct jobs and 2,651 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the El Paso, TX, metropolitan economic area (1.9 percent).
In another recommendation, DoD would realign Ft. Huachuca, AZ, by relocating all mobilization processing functions to Ft Bliss, TX, designating it as Joint Pre-Deployment/Mobilization Site Bliss/Holloman. This recommendation was part of a larger recommendation to consolidate mobilization funcitons at several other sites. This recommendation would realign eight lower threshold mobilization sites to four existing large capacity sites and transforms them into Joint Pre-Deployment/ Mobilization Platforms. This action would be expected to have the long-term effect of creating pre- deployment/mobilization centers of excellence, leverage economies of scale, reduce costs, and improve service to mobilized service members. These joint platforms would not effect any of the services units that a have specific unit personnel/equipment requirements necessitating their mobilization from a specified installation. This recommendation specifically targeted four of the larger capacity mobilization centers located in higher density Reserve Component (RC) personnel areas. These platforms had the added military value of strategic location, Power Projection Platform (PPP) and deployment capabilities. The gaining bases all had an adjoining installation from another service(s), thereby gaining the opportunity to increase partnership and enhance existing joint service facilities and capabilities. These new joint regional predeployment/redeployment mobilization processing sites, Fort Dix, Fort Lewis, Fort Bliss and Fort Bragg had the capability to adequately prepare, train and deploy members from all services while reducing overall mobilization processing site manpower and facilities requirements. Numerous other intangible savings would be expected to result from transformation opportunities by consolidating all services' mobilization operations and optimizing existing and future personnel requirements. Additional opportunities for savings would also be expecte from the establishment of a single space mobilization site capable of supporting pre-deployment/mobilization operations from centralized facilities and infrastructure.
Secretary of Defense Justification: This proposal ensures the Army has sufficient infrastructure, training land and ranges to meet the requirements to transform the Operational Army as identified in the Twenty Year Force Structure Plan. It also ensures the Army maintains adequate surge capacity. As part of the modular force transformation, the Army is activating 10 new combat arms brigades for a total of 43 active component brigade combat teams (BCTs). Including the results of the Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy (IGPBS), the number of BCTs stationed in the United States will rise from twenty-six to forty. Relocating the units listed in this recommendation to Fort Bliss, Fort Riley, and Fort Sill takes advantage of available infrastructure and training land. Fort Bliss and Fort Riley are installations capable of training modular formations, both mounted and dismounted, at home station with sufficient land and facilities to test, simulate, or fire all organic weapon systems. This recommendation enhances home station training and readiness of the units at all installations.
Relocating 1st Armored Division units and echelons above division (EAD) units to Fort Bliss will transform it from an institutional training installation into a major mounted maneuver training installation. This avoids overcrowding and overuse at other installations by stationing them at one of the installations with the greatest capacity. It also creates a potential opportunity for enhanced Operational Testing due to the close proximity of Fort Bliss to White Sands Missile Range.
Relocating an Air Defense Artillery (ADA) unit to Fort Sill supports the establishment of the Net Fires Center, combining the Artillery and ADA schools at Fort Sill and provides a force stabilization opportunity for soldiers in this unit. Relocating the Artillery (Fires) Brigade to Fort Bliss collocates the artillery with the maneuver units at Fort Bliss and vacates space at Fort Sill for the ADA unit.
Realigning Fort Riley by inactivating an Engineer Brigade Headquarters, two other engineer units, two maneuver battalions and other smaller units beginning in FY 06 directly supports the Army's modular force transformation. It also facilitates activating a BCT in FY 06, and relocating 1st Infantry Division Headquarters, the Division Support Command Headquarters, Aviation Brigade units and other units returning from overseas to Fort Riley. The relocation of an attack aviation battalion from Fort Campbell to Fort Riley supports the formation of a multifunctional aviation brigade at Fort Riley.
The Army obtained approval to temporarily station a BCT at Fort Hood in 2005 and another BCT at Fort Bliss in 2006. This recommendation validates the stationing of that BCT at Fort Bliss and relocates two maneuver battalions, an armored reconnaissance squadron and a support battalion from Fort Hood to support the activation at Fort Bliss. Relocating these battalions will provide the assets necessary to accomplish the activation. Relocating aviation units from Fort Hood supports the activation of a multifunctional aviation brigade.
While this recommendation does not in BRAC terms save money, the costs are mitigated by the non-BRAC savings that will accrue to the Department from the closure or realignment of the overseas locations from which these units come. Those non-BRAC savings amount to $4,400M during the 6-year period and approximately $20,000M of 20-year net present value savings.
Community Concerns: Fort Bliss, TX was the only installation to express community issues to the Commission concerning the relocation of an operational air defense artillery (ADA) brigade to Fort Sill, OK. The Fort Bliss community argued relocating an operational ADA brigade to Fort Sill does not sufficiently consider the brigade's strategic deployment and training requirements. The community also believed that the certified data undervalued the airspace capacity at Fort Bliss. They urged the Commission to retain the ADA missile brigade at Fort Bliss and reject this DoD recommendation.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that realignments associated with this recommendation were consistent with the DoD justification.
The Commission conducted an independent and in-depth review of the requirements for training and live-fire of these systems. Fort Sill has 42,000 maneuver acres compared with 992,000 maneuver acres at Fort Bliss. While Fort Sill ranges cannot support live fire, and they are not compatible with tank or mechanized infantry unit maneuver requirements, they are compatible with the movement and positioning of artillery units. Field artillery units have trained at Fort Sill successfully for years, and the air defense artillery brigade will be able to accomplish its maneuver training at Fort Sill as well. The Commission's analysis confirmed that ADA units at Fort Sill will have to deploy to Fort Bliss to live-fire. The Avenger system requirement is to live-fire one missile per platoon every six months. Therefore, this will require additional simulation and deployments to Fort Bliss to meet the requirement. However, the Patriot system live-fire requirement is infrequent, with one missile launch per battery every other year, and only if missiles are available. This can be satisfied through simulation and deployments to Fort Bliss in conjunction with other joint exercises, to include Roving Sands.
The Commission found that relocating this brigade was not optimal, but it was suitable and did not rise to the level of a substantial deviation. It enabled the Net Fires center and concepts at Fort Sill through the collocation of an operational ADA brigade with an institutional ADA brigade, thus creating synergies and force stabilization opportunities between the units.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found the Secretary's recommendation consistent with the final selection criteria and force structure plan. Therefore, the Commission approved the recommendation of the Secretary.
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