Fort Riley Army officials told a key member of Congress on Monday that the rapid expansion of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley is coming along fine so far.
Brig. Gen. Keith Walker, assistant division commander for operations, said federal appropriations and actions taken by surrounding communities were progressing as the number of soldiers at Fort Riley doubles from 10,000 in 2005 to nearly 20,000 by 2013.
"So far, so good," Walker said. "That's not to say there aren't problems."
Walker and other division officials briefed Rep. Chet Edwards, chairman of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, on activities on the northeast Kansas post. The Texas Democrat traveled with Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Edwards said Congress was improving the quality of life of soldiers, spouses and veterans with more funding for housing, child care and medical, including an $11.8 billion increase in funding for Veterans Affairs.
"We believe supporting our veterans is a cost of war, just as paying for tanks and ammunition," Edwards said.
The Army has initiated a brisk construction schedule at Fort Riley to build new barracks, support facilities and a new headquarters for the division, which was in Germany for a decade. More than $820 million in construction projects are either under way or scheduled in the coming months, including completion of $280.5 million for the division's aviation brigade, currently serving in Iraq.
"Clearly, Fort Riley is part of the global war on terror," Boyda said. "Today was really about the quality of life for our families."
The tour will stop at Fort Leavenworth today. Both Army posts are in Boyda's 2nd District.