Army says Strykers to be based in Hawaii, Akaka is ‘pleased’

News Report
Ikaika M Hussey

After nearly five years of protest and litigation, the U.S. Army has announced that the Stryker brigade will indeed be based in Hawaii. U.S. Senator Akaka says that he is "pleased."

From the Army's press release:

This Final EIS identifies Schofield Barracks Military Reservation in Hawaii as the Army's preferred alternative for the stationing location of this brigade. A Record of Decision document will announce the final location decision no earlier than 30 days from the date the EPA notice of availability of the Final EIS appears in the Federal Register.

The 2/25th SBCT deployed in November 2007 from Hawaii to support ongoing operations in Iraq and will return to a home station in early 2009.

The Army analyzed 140 installations for their suitability to meet the appropriate training infrastructure, maneuver land, compatible mission and garrison support infrastructure to support the SBCT. Out of the 140 installations, three Army installations were determined to have the appropriate infrastructure capable of supporting the permanent stationing of the 2/25th SBCT. The Final EIS examines the three Army installations. It provides the Army's senior leadership with a "hard look" at environmental impacts associated with the proposed action so their decision-making process for selecting the final stationing location will be fully informed. The EIS effort included analysis of all activities (training, facilities construction, and Soldier and Family support) required to permanently station the 2/25th SBCT. In addition, the Final EIS identifies strategic deployment as a critical component of the need for the stationing action. Strategic deployment considerations for the stationing of the 2/25th SBCT will be evaluated further in the Army's decision-making process and justified in the record of decision.

The three alternatives for implementing the proposed stationing action are: (1) permanently stationing the 2/25th SBCT at Schofield Barracks Military Reservation while conducting required training at military training sites in Hawaii; (2) permanently stationing the 2/25th SBCT at Fort Richardson while conducting required training at military training sites in Alaska; and (3) permanently stationing the 2/25th SBCT at Fort Carson while conducting required training at military training sites in Colorado. In addition to these alternatives, the "No Action" alternative was described and its environmental impacts fully assessed and considered.

Direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the proposed stationing action have been considered in the final EIS. The document identifies impacts at each of the three alternative locations that would occur as a result of implementing the proposed action. Impacts at alternative sites would result from construction and training activities. Each of the impacts can be mitigated.

The Army invited full public participation in the environmental evaluation process to promote open communication and better decision making. All persons and organizations that have an interest in the permanent stationing of the 2/25th SBCT were urged to participate. The public has provided input and comments at scoping meetings and public meetings held at all potential alternative stationing locations for the 2/25th.