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Army axing Accessions Command

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Positions to be eliminated at Fort Knox; Freakley to retire

By Amber Coulter

A military organizational decision means the loss of 487 positions at Fort Knox.

The Army Accessions Command will be inactivated by the end of fiscal year 2012 as part of the Department of Defense and Army efficiency reviews, according to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.

The decision, announced late Wednesday, means the loss of two generals and 65 other military positions, 130 civilian Department of Defense positions and 290 contract positions. The number of jobs lost will be less because some positions are vacant.

A phased implementation plan is expected within the next 60 days, which will outline more details of the inactivation.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, who took over Accessions Command four years ago and became senior commander at Fort Knox last year, announced Tuesday his plans to retire, according to the U.S. Army website.

The change means Fort Knox will be under the command of a new general, who will not be of Freakley’s three-star level, said U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green.

An official with Accession Command said Freakley wasn’t available for comment regarding the changes Wednesday.

She referred questions to Freakley regarding how many positions being inactivated are filled, what will be done by the military for workers whose jobs are being eliminated and on community impact.

In a memorandum to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of the Army John McHugh outlined five decisions which include inactivating Army Accessions Command, realigning Army Recruiting Command and Cadet Command under the Army Training and Doctrine Command, and continuing to align Human Resources Command under the deputy chief of staff, according to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Accessions Command was created in 2002 to better align initial Army training by putting Recruiting Command, Cadet Command and initial entry organizations under a single headquarters. The initial training organizations were removed from Accessions Command after a few years.

The changes are the result of a comprehensive study identifying options for aligning accessions command and other commands that fulfill human resource functions. It is meant to save money by streamlining the Army’s accessioning process.

The realignment calls for establishment of an Army Marketing and Research Group for national and corporate needs. It will become a field operating agency in the Military District of Washington, according to the assistant secretary of defense’s statement.

Additionally, the Accessions Support Brigade will be aligned to the Army Marketing and Research Group as a direct reporting unit. It will remain at Fort Knox, according to the statement.

The positions are not related to those created by the Base Realignment and Closure initiative and the human resources positions coming to the area from that change.

Freakley informed accessions employees about the inactivation in a town hall meeting Wednesday.

Guthrie said he is disappointed about the positions leaving Fort Knox, but he’s glad it won’t affect BRAC plans, which have brought a surge of higher-paying jobs to the area.

The positions lost are important, but BRAC changes still are an enormous part of Kentucky’s economic development, he said.

The decision was made to streamline Army command, not because Fort Knox lacked the appeal necessary to keep the jobs, Guthrie said.

Retired Maj. Gen. Bill Barron, executive director of the CORE Committee, said it’s too early to tell what the effect on the community will be.

“I’m waiting to see more numbers,” he said.

Barron noted that recruiting and cadet command units will remain at Fort Knox.

“This is not going to be the end of the world by far,” he said.

Retired Col. Don Williams, past chairman of the state’s Military Affairs Commission and members of the local CORE Committee, said members of both organizations have known a decision was coming.

The Army likely soon will announce the higher command structure,  who will be the next commander at Fort Knox and who will take over functions of Accessions Command, Williams said.

Robert Steurer, communications director for the office of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, said the minority leader was traveling out of the country on business Wednesday. McConnell will review the decision with Pentagon, Fort Knox and community officials when he returns, Steurer said.

  • The decision to inactivate Accessions Command will have no effect on other commands at Fort Knox, including Human Resource Command, Cadet Command and Recruiting Command.
  • The U.S. Army Accessions Command was established Feb, 15, 2002. It is a subordinate command of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command charged with providing integrated command and control of recruiting for the Army’s officer, warrant officer and enlisted forces. The command was designed to meet human resource needs of the Army.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.