Fort Leonard Wood, located in Pulaski County, is home to the U.S. Army's Engineer School, Military Police School, and Chemical School, along with other advanced technical training. The base is located just south of Interstate 44, about 120 miles southwest of St. Louis and 85 miles northeast of Springfield. The installation occupies roughly 62,911 acres of land in the Ozark Plateau region in Pulaski County. Fort Leonard Wood also occupies land in Texas, Phelps, and Laclede counties. Some of the land surrounding the installation is part of the Houston-Rolla Ranger District, which contains Mark Twain National Forest lands scattered with privately owned lands. The closest municipalities, Waynesville and St. Robert, are just north of the installation. Over 60,000 service members graduate from training every year at Fort Leonard Wood.
The primary mission at Fort Leonard Wood is training enlisted and officer personnel in basic combat and specialty skills required for personnel assigned to the Military Engineer, Military Police, and Chemical Military Occupational Skill areas. The installation also is available for Army Reserve and National Guard unit training. There are over 149 training areas totaling approximately 17,716 acres, 44 ranges, 26 dedicated bivouac sites, and more than 32,800 acres of available maneuver areas. The west, south, and eastern portions of the training areas include small arms, machine gun, grenade, and demolition ranges. Cannon Range, at the southwest corner of the installation, is used as an artillery and mortar impact area. Cannon Range also is used for aircraft (A-10 and F-15) air-to-ground inert bombing and strafing by Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Air National Guard units.
The Army nominated Fort Leonard Wood as a candidate for the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) program in August 2008 due to concerns about current and potential residential development near the training areas and ranges. Continued civilian development in these areas could have an adverse impact on the military mission at Fort Leonard Wood. A JLUS provides the adjacent jurisdictions an opportunity to adopt compatible use planning doctrine to prevent incompatible development that could adversely impact Fort Leonard Wood’s training effectiveness, particularly from potential residential development near the installation.
The Meramec Regional Planning Commission will serve as the JLUS study sponsor, with participation from St. Robert, Waynesville, Pulaski County, and Phelps County. A JLUS Policy Committee and a Technical Advisory Committee will be formed to oversee the JLUS planning process.