Secretary of the Army John McHugh is visiting Joint Base Lewis-McChord Thursday to make announcement on a “force alignment” decision that will impact the military community south of Tacoma, the Army said today.
McHugh’s visit appears different from recent trips made by other senior Army leaders to Lewis-McChord in the past two months in that the Army says McHugh has a “basing decision” to release tomorrow. That’s different from the Army leaders who visited Lewis-McChord to answer questions about the base and the state of the force, but not to break news.
Recently, defense experts have suggested Lewis-McChord is ready to have an Army division stationed there to help manage its infantry brigades. The ranks of active duty soldiers at Lewis-McChord nearly doubled since 2003, and its size now closely resembles the Army’s largest bases.
Those bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas, have an Army corps to manage an Army division, and a division to oversee combat brigades. Lewis-McChord is missing the middle layer. It has a corps overseen by a three-star general managing brigades led by colonels. An infantry division is usually overseen by a two-star general who reports to the three-star at the corps level.
Fort Lewis was the home of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division until the early 1990s. Lewis-McChord senior Army officer Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti in an interview at his headquarters in Kabul last week said he favored the creation of a division at Lewis-McChord because it enables better mentorship of junior leaders. Scaparrotti is the No. 2 commander of the war in Afghanistan this year with Lewis-McChord’s I Corps.