Fort Campbell Hopes For Funding Boost After Trump Calls For More Military Spending

Mar 8, 2017

Fort Campbell would dearly love to see some of the $54 billion in defense funding that President Trump has proposed. The commanding general of 101st Airborne says that the Army post could use more soldiers, as well as long-awaited updates on buildings.

Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas says, under Obama-era budget cuts, the post has no funding for new construction, and it's been forced to scale back on maintaining existing buildings. Many badly need upgrades, he says, like one vehicle maintenance facility built during World War II. 

"Some of our barracks are from the Volunteer Army timeframe from the '70s," Poppas says. "We don't expect that to be part of the initial surge of money that's going to come that you heard the president speak of, but you start to plan for it because those are long lead-time items."

A more immediate priority is adding to the number of soldiers, says Rep. Mack Thornberry of Texas. The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services committee was touring Fort Campbell on Tuesday.

This is a turnaround from the last administration, which asked the Army to downsize significantly.

"I believe, in Washington, there is a consensus that we have cut the military too much, that it is time to turn around, to repair and rebuild our military," Thornberry says.

Fort Campbell has not seen cuts to its personnel to the same extent as other posts around the country, but it has lost two brigades in recent years. Poppas, the commanding general, says the Army will decide later whether those will be reactivated. 

"I, of course, would love to see both of them back — even a third," he says.