Fort Riley

J. Schafer

Update from the AP:

A man accused of conspiring in a foiled plot to bomb a Kansas military base on behalf of the Islamic State group has pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Alexander E. Blair changed his plea to guilty on Monday in a Topeka federal court. Prosecutors say Blair helped 21-year-old John T. Booker in his plot to plant a 1,000-pound bomb at the Fort Riley military base to aid the Islamic State group. Blair admitted in court that he loaned Booker $100 to secure a storage space for the explosives and failed to inform law enforcement of the plot. Booker has already pleaded guilty in the case.

The U.S. Army took possession in July of a new hospital at Fort Riley, a project put on the fast track after its 2009 groundbreaking to replace Irwin Army Community Hospital, the oldest Army hospital in the nation.

But the planned completion in 2012 came and went, and now a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for mid-January 2016 has been scrapped. There's no date set for the opening. No one is saying exactly why.

ddrace, flickr Creative Commons

More than 2,000 Kansas residents attended a town hall meeting on Monday to show support for Fort Riley.

The Army is planning to cut personnel there from a war-time high of 570,000 to 450,000 at the end of 2017, then to 420,000 by the year 2020.

Fort Riley employs more than 25,000 military and civilian workers, and fort officials say as many as 16,000 could be dismissed or redeployed.

Manhattan salon owner Terry Deweese estimated that about half of his customers are military and many of his employees are military spouses.

The U.S. Army says budget cuts could mean the loss of thousands of soldiers and employees at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth.

However, fort officials say the report released Thursday is a worst-case scenario and the reductions aren’t likely to be as severe as predicted.

The report said Fort Riley could lose 16,000 soldiers and civilian employees, with another 3,600 jobs related to the base also eliminated. The fort currently has about 20,000 soldiers and civilian employees.

The Army says Fort Leavenworth could lose half of its 5,000 employees.

Leaders at Fort Riley are getting ready outline what residents can expect at as the military downsizes.

Fort Riley Commanding General Lt. Gen. Paul Funk will outline a plan today that looks through the year 2020.

Nearly 18,000 soldiers are currently assigned to the northeast Kansas army post. The Army has announced plans to eliminate one of the 1st Infantry Division’s brigades.

Because of reassignment and attrition, actual losses on post are expected to be fewer than 2,000 soldiers.

The Army says it will eliminate one infantry brigade at Fort Riley.

Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno says the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division will be inactivated.

The move is part of the Army's plans to reduce its overall strength by 80,000 soldiers, down to 490,000.

The military had already planned the cuts before federal budget reductions were put in place in March.

Fort Riley is home to nearly 18,000 soldiers and three brigades of the 1st Infantry Division, as well as a combat aviation brigade.