Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) is pledging to work with the nation's military leaders to review a significant reshaping of the nation's military and trimming of the Pentagon's budget. While he has concerns, Kingston acknowledged the tough task taken on by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and is cautiously optimistic that the changes will not negatively impact the South Georgia military installations he represents.
"We should, to the extent possible, find ways to save taxpayer dollars without further exposing our troops or the American people to harm," said Kingston. "I appreciate the effort of Secretary Panetta in putting together this proposal and look forward to reviewing it carefully. While we are in an extremely difficult budget situation, we must ensure that the decisions made today are not penny wise and pound foolish."
"With respect to the bases in our area, we work every day under the assumption that another round of closures is just around that corner," he continued. "That's why I make it one of my top priorities to work with our communities and military personnel to identify new missions and make sure our bases are good hosts to the troops they house. I am consistently impressed by each of our installations and know that their excellence is not unnoticed inside the Pentagon."
In April of last year, Kingston testified before the House Armed Services Committee in support of bringing new missions to the installations he represents which include Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, and Moody Air Force base in addition to a National Guard training facility and the Townsend Bombing Range.
The proposed changes would reduce the size of the military by 100,000 troops, eliminate some programs and delay others in an effort to save $487 billion over the next decade. It will also call for another Base Closing and Realignment Commission (BRAC) to review military installations for possible closure.
As a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Committee, Kingston intends to work with Secretary Panetta and each of the service chiefs to review the proposals when working to set the nation's defense budget his committee will craft for the coming year.