Secretary of the Army John McHugh today announced that the Army will establish a new two-star headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), reflecting the installation’s growth over the past nine years, as well as its strategic importance in the new Defense Strategic Guidance.
“This new headquarters will provide command and control for several brigade-size units, many of which have been activated since 2003,” McHugh explained during a news conference at JBLM, near Tacoma, Wash. “Under the leadership of Gen. Ray Odierno, the chief of staff of the Army, and joined by officials from I Corps and U.S. Army Forces Command, the Department of the Army believes this new headquarters will help meet the needs created by the base’s nine years of dynamic growth and its evolving future missions.”
McHugh noted that the new headquarters is an internal reorganization within the Army, and will not require an increase to the Army’s end-strength.
“As the Army’s only power projection installation west of the Rocky Mountains, JBLM has assumed even greater importance in our new Defense Strategic Guidance,” he explained. “The dynamic growth over the past decade, combined with their regional significance in our ability to protect and defend the Pacific region, makes JBLM’s new headquarters important not only to the Army, but also to the nation.”
The new unit will provide oversight for personnel, equipment, training and readiness of three Stryker brigade combat teams, a combat aviation brigade and a fires brigade -- totaling some 17,000 Soldiers. The I Corps commanding general remains the senior Army component commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the new two-star headquarters will report to I Corps. The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Garrison commander will remain in command of the installation to over-see joint-installation functions in support of the new headquarters and other tenant units.
Since 2003, the roles of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord have evolved in a manner to keep pace with significantly changing war-time roles and missions of the Army, Air Force and the Department of Defense (DoD). Over the past nine years, it has grown by about15,000 soldiers and 22,000 family members. During that time, it has also seen the rapid establishment of three Stryker brigade combat teams; and a military construction program totaling $1.75 billion.
“This has been one of the fastest growing installations in the Army,” McHugh said. “And we’ve been fortunate that members of Washington State’s Congressional delegation – specifically Sen. Patty Murray, Rep. Adam Smith and Rep. Norm Dicks – have worked with us on behalf of JBLM, its soldiers and families, and I’m grateful for their leadership and support.”
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the largest in size of the DoD’s 12 joint bases, and is the second largest in population. The new headquarters’ formal activation is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2012, but the unit’s personnel and three general officers will begin arriving early this summer. The new unit will be designated Headquarters, 7th Infantry Division and its commander will be announced at a later date.
Media inquiries about the new unit may be directed to the Army Public Affairs, at 703-697-7550 or 703-693-7589.
CORRECTION: -- April 26, 2012; no. 312-12: The contact information about the new unit has been changed from U.S. Army Forces Command Public Affairs Office, 910-570-7200 to Army Public Affairs, at 703-697-7550 or 703-693-7589.