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Army presence in the Pacific grows by 18 percent

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 4:07 p.m. HST, Apr 8, 2014

The U.S. Army's presence in the Pacific has grown to 106,000 active duty soldiers from about 90,000, a nearly 18 percent increase as the service rebalances in the region while planning drastic cuts elsewhere, officials said.

"How we have forces based in the Pacific we see remaining about the same for the next several years," Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of U.S. Army Pacific at Fort Shafter, said Tuesday.

"One difference would be rotational forces going into and out of Korea, as an example," Brooks said. "But the basing we see being about the same."

Brooks also said Hawaii's about 22,500 active duty soldier count will remain about where it is, and a 4,300-soldier Stryker Brigade at Schofield Barracks that was said to be vulnerable to cuts -- and a possible move to Washington state -- will stay right where it is.

"We don't see the Stryker Brigade leaving for Washington state. We don't have any designs to do that at this point in time," Brooks said.

The four-star general made the comments at a news conference at the Association of the United States Army's LANPAC land forces forum at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. 

The Army is on a post-war path to shrink its active-duty force to between 440,000 and 450,000 soldiers from the current 520,000 soldiers over the next five years.

Most of the Army growth in the Pacific occurred in about the past year with soldiers added to I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and in South Korea, officials said.

"There are some adjustments that we know we're going to have to do," Brooks said. He cited the example of his own headquarters being reduced 13 percent. "There will be some adjustments that are done that are on the margins," Brooks said. "But in major terms -- we don't see that in the next two to four years at the present time."

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