Congressman Jack Kingston (R/GA-1) today issued the following statement after Secretary of the Army Pete Geren announced that the much anticipated 5th Brigade Combat Team (BCT) would not come to Fort Stewart:
"This isn't just an emotional disappointment but an economic one as well. For three years now, ever since the Base Realignment and Closure Commission announced that Fort Stewart would pick up a new brigade, the community, bankers and developers have all been building the infrastructure as has the U.S. Army on the post itself.
"For the Secretary to change his mind in the eleventh hour after all the money has been invested, really hurts this area economically. On top of a very poor economy, that's the last kick in the teeth anybody needs. We need to get the Pentagon to realize the devastation is not just emotional but economic. We're going to do everything we can to get some other troops or missions into Fort Stewart to make up for this.
"The upcoming hearings to confirm President Obama's nominee to replace Secretary Geren with Congressman John McHugh (R/NY-23) will provide an opportunity to seek a commitment and raise awareness of the great investments made to prepare for the brigade promised under BRAC. Having served with Secretary-Designate McHugh, I will make sure Fort Stewarts growth is one of his top priorities and will be meeting with him later today."
In the weeks since Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the announcement that the Army would grow to 45 brigades, rather than the originally planned 48, Congressman Kingston has worked with local, national and defense leaders to highlight the importance of Fort Stewart to the Army's strategic goals and the large investment made by the community in preparation for the brigade.
Congressman Kingston has spoken repeatedly with Secretary Geren and, most recently, led Georgia's entire U.S. House delegation in calling on the Defense Department to continue with plans to locate a new brigade at Fort Stewart. He also used a recent hearing of the House Defense Appropriations Committee with Defense Secretary Gates to continue the fight for Fort Stewart.