Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (GA-02), Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, issued a statement regarding the closure of the public comment period of the Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the Army's 2020 Force Structure Realignment.
"While I can appreciate the Army's initiative to restructure our forces in accordance with our operational requirements and today's fiscal reality, Fort Benning has been a valuable asset to the Army and Columbus for generations," said Congressman Bishop. "I take the commitment to supporting our soldiers, family members, veterans, and defense civilian personnel in and around Fort Benning very seriously, and so I join the local towns, cities, communities, businesses and Chambers of Commerce in urging the Army to carefully review the impacts on Fort Benning and the greater Columbus area laid out by the public over the past two months."
Yesterday, prior to the close of the PEA's public comment period, Congressman Bishop submitted his own comments in a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammack echoing many of the concerns that have been raised and urging the Army to continue to support a strong Fort Benning. To view the letter sent to the Army, please click here.
In January 2013, the United States Army released a final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment, which reviews and analyzes the impact of an anticipated force-wide restructuring plan. The Army has completed this analysis in an effort to ensure that vital national defense capabilities are maintained in a climate of budgetary constraints as U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming to an end. Consequently, the Army is beginning a process to reduce their total active end-strength from 562,000 to 490,000 by 2020 as part of the military's overall budget reduction.
As part of this drawdown, plans are being laid to deactivate eight Army Brigade Combat Teams. The Army has announced two of the deactivated brigades will come from units stationed in Europe, while the remaining six will come from twenty-one U.S. installations home to Brigade Combat Teams, possibly including Fort Benning, Georgia.
Domestic sites being considered for force reduction also include: Fort Bliss, TX; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Campbell, KY; Fort Carson, CO; Fort Drum, NY; Fort Gordon, GA; Fort Hood, TX; Fort Irwin, CA; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA; Fort Knox, KY; Fort Lee, VA; Fort Leonard Wood, MO; Fort Polk, LA; Fort Riley, KS; Fort Sill, OK; Fort Stewart, GA; U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii; and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Wainwright, AK.