Fw: [piko2005] Stryker brigade likely will remain in Hawaii

FYI Hawaii Congressional folks on Stryker. They need to hear from us.
Jim Albertini
Malu `Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB
`Ola`a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
email ja@interpac.net
www.malu-aina.org


Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 1:51 AM
Subject: [piko2005] Stryker brigade likely will remain in Hawaii


> STOP THE STRYKERS!
>
> Please contact others and urge them to vote in the Star Bulletin Poll
online if they haven't done so.

http://starbulletin.com/poll/
>
> Schofield Strykers?
>
> Do you think the Stryker brigade should be stationed at Schofield
Barracks? (Vote form)
>
> A. Yes 367 26.25%
> B. No 1031 73.75%
> Total votes: 1398 as of 1:53 am, 7/27/07
>
> ===============================
>
> Sent: Thu 7/26/2007 3:44 PM
>
>
> Article: Stryker brigade likely will remain in Hawaii
>
>
> Article:
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Jul/26/ln/hawaii707260338.html
>
>
> Even though the Army has identified two possible alternative locations for
Hawai'i's Stryker brigade, some members of the state's congressional
delegation and a leading national defense expert say the fast-strike unit of
328 armored vehicles likely will remain here.
>
> U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i, chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Subcommitee on Readiness and Management Support, said he has
encouraged the Defense Department to be good stewards of the land.
>
> He said he is pleased the Army has completed a draft environmental impact
statement examining alternative locations capable of supporting the Stryker
brigade.
>
> A federal appeals court in October ordered the study, which was released
last week.
>
> But Akaka also said he remains optimistic that after a thorough review,
the Army "will confirm its initial assessment that Hawai'i is the optimal
location to meet our nation's future security needs."
>
> U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, also a Hawai'i Democrat, said he didn!
> 't see anything in the draft report indicating why the Stryker brigade
shouldn't come back to Hawai'i after an upcoming deployment to Iraq.
>
> "I'm not sure the environmental challenges are all that great in the sense
of precluding (the brigade returning) to Hawai'i," Abercrombie said.
>
> The Army released a 595-page draft report last week that considers moving
the 4,000-soldier unit to Fort Carson, Colo., or Fort Richardson, Alaska, or
keeping it in Hawai'i when it gets back from a deployment to Iraq in late
2008 or early 2009.
>
> Stryker soldiers are expected to begin leaving for Iraq in November.
>
> The Army said it initially considered "the full spectrum of Army
installations" elsewhere as potential sites before concluding that the bases
in Alaska and Colorado were the most viable as alternatives.
>
> The identification of the two sites gave a new reality to the possibility
that the $1.5 billion Stryker brigade, touted as one of the biggest Army
projects in Hawai'i since Worl!
> d War II, and whose facilities have been under construction he!
> re since
> 2004, could be moved.
>
> Many of the $700 million in projects to accommodate the eight-wheeled
vehicles have been completed.
>
> But uncertainty still remains as to what the outcome will be.
>
> "I think it's a very, very important time and we need to support the
national defense efforts of not only the Army, but all of the military
here," said Jim Tollefson, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i.
>
> The chamber, which is a key supporter of the military, said defense
spending in Hawai'i totaled $5.6 billion in fiscal 2005 and is the No. 2
driver of the economy behind tourism.
>
> "Being forward-based from a strategic perspective just makes a lot of
sense," Tollefson said. "We've got Guam and here and that's basically the
last U.S. soil between us and the rest of the Pacific."
>
> Loren Thompson, a defense expert with the Lexington Institute in Virginia,
is among those who believe the 19-ton Strykers will remain in Hawai'i.
>
> The U.S. is closing down and withdrawing from bas!
> es in Europe and Asia.
>
> "If we needed to come to the support of the Philippine government because
of an insurgency, or we were called upon to provide protection to the
government of Singapore, being in Hawai'i would make a significant (response
time) difference," Thompson said.
>
> Three Hawaiian groups - 'Ilio'ulaokalani Coalition, Na 'Imi Pono and
Kipuka - filed a lawsuit in 2004 charging that the Stryker project would
damage Native Hawaiian cultural sites and harm endangered species and their
habitats.
>
> The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in October
that the Army had not fully complied with federal environmental law because
it did not adequately analyze alternative locations outside Hawai'i for the
Stryker brigade, and ordered the service to do so.
>
> Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represents the plaintiffs,
yesterday said he has serious concerns over the objectivity with which the
Army is carrying out the supplemental environmental impac!
> t study.
>
> Henkin points to a comment made in late May by Adm.!
> Timothy
> Keating, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, about the future of the the
Schofield Barracks-based Stryker brigade.
>
> During a press conference with Defense Secretary Robert Gates at Camp
Smith, Gates was asked whether the Army expected to choose another location
for the Stryker brigade when it got back from Iraq.
>
> Gates admitted he was not familiar with the Hawai'i basing issue, but
Keating emphatically stated, "Can I recommend an answer? No. No. They (the
Stryker brigade) will come back here."
>
> Henkin said the statement "casts some serious doubts on the objectivity
with which the Army is conducting the analysis."
>
> Public comment still is being sought on the draft report, and will be
taken through Sept. 4. Public meetings also will be held at
yet-to-be-determined dates and times.
>
> If the Army is forced to move the Stryker brigade, another brigade -
either airborne or infantry - would replace it here from either Fort Carson
or Fort Richardson, the study states.
>
> Stryker u!
> nits are based in Hawai'i; Alaska; Fort Lewis, Wash.; Germany; and with a
Pennsylvania National Guard unit.
>
> Training range availability and facilities to accommodate Hawai'i's
Stryker brigade when it returns from Iraq were taken into account in
arriving at the Colorado and Alaska base alternatives.
>
> The Lexington Institute's Thompson, noting the Strykers are supposed to be
fast-response units, said the only way placing the unit in Colorado would
make sense is if "the Army needs to put down an uprising in Denver."
>
> But Henkin said Alaska beats Hawai'i in deployment time to Southeast Asia,
and that there are big air wings on the Mainland with lots of cargo aircraft
to transport Strykers, while Hawai'i has only eight C-17s and would need to
make nearly 300 sorties to move the brigade.
>
> "We do not believe that Hawai'i is an appropriate place to do training
with Stryker vehicles," Henkin said.
>
> Bill Paty, who was born in Hawai'i and is an emeritus civilian aide to the
secr!
> etary of the Army for the Pacific, said the Strykers were plac!
> ed in Ha
> wai'i in a balancing of U.S. forces in forward positions relative to Asia.
>
> Paty is not inclined to believe the Strykers will move, and thinks the
impact on the environment does not present major concerns, but acknowledges
the concerns of the Hawaiian community and environmentalists. He thinks
there are "talk story" opportunities for both sides to come to a better
understanding.
>
> "But I think the Army has to continue to be forward-moving and keeping
people informed. They still don't have it together when it comes to telling
the story."
>
> Reach William Cole at wcole@honoluluadvertiser.com.
> ------------------
>
> Article URL:
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Jul/26/ln/hawaii707260338.html
> Visit http://www.HonoluluAdvertiser.com for the latest in Hawai'i's news,
sports, business, entertainment and weather.
>
>
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