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, was informed by the U.S. Army that they will be conducting listening sessions at installations across the country regarding the Army's 2020 Force Structure Realignment, which will include our base, Fort Benning.
"After two months of public advocacy and input into the Army's end-strength reduction and reorganization assessment, people from the greater Columbus area will have the opportunity to hear from senior Army leaders about how decisions will be made and provide valuable input on behalf of the community," said Congressman Bishop. "Though no timeframe or details are available as of yet, I am eager for our communities to have as much participation in the Army's decision making process as possible, and look forward to the listening session, as I know citizens in the Chattahoochee Valley supports a strong Fort Benning as much as I do."
Beginning on April 8, 2013, the Army plans to conduct listening sessions at the installations that have an Army combined authorized federal civilian employee and military permanent population of 5,000 or greater. Community feedback will be considered by Army Senior Leaders prior to any final decisions. Exact meeting dates will be determined by the installations in coordination with Headquarters at the Department of the Army. More details to follow.
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.