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Fort Gordon among 21 bases evaluated for force reduction

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fort Gordon could shed up to 4,300 military personnel by 2020 under one scenario outlined Friday in a broad force reduction and realignment initiative affecting up to 21 Army bases.

“After 10 years of war, our nation is facing new challenges and opportunities that call for reshaping our defense priorities,” the Army said in an environmental assessment that explores the need to reduce the Army’s active duty end-strength from 562,000 at the end of fiscal 2012 to 490,000 by fiscal 2020.

The draft environmental assessment identifies two other Georgia bases — Fort Benning and Fort Stewart – in the list of sites that could lose at least 1,000 personnel during the seven-year realignment.

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Fort Gordon public affairs officer J.C. Mathews noted that the assessment’s purpose is to evaluate environmental impacts “in the event of significant reductions in force structure at Fort Gordon” and do not represent any final decisions.

“It’s important to note that these force structure and stationing decisions assessed in the Problematic Environmental Assessment have not yet been made, and those eventual decisions could include all, some or none of the reductions evaluated,” he said, in a statement emailed to The Augusta Chronicle. “As such, we are unable to speculate about likely local impacts.”

Although most of the bases evaluated for force reductions are linked to brigade combat teams, Fort Gordon houses critical national defense programs, such as the National Security Agency’s top-secret surveillance facility that employs about 4,000 workers who collect and distribute intelligence data.

The post also houses major communications and computer schools, the Army’s school for cyber warfare and the largest Microsoft certified training center in the world.

Fort Gordon’s total military population (excluding reserves) is 13,729, Mathews said. Including civilian employees, the total population is 22,801.

Those figures do not include National Security Administration personnel.

Army officials said the assessment is designed to inform decision-makers of potential socioeconomic and environmental impacts associated with proposed force reduction actions that will be made gradually in the coming years. “The specific locations where changes will occur have not been decided,” the announcement said.

The assessment, which proposes a “finding of no significant impact,” is out for public review and comment through Feb. 17.

“The Army values the public’s input, and this public comment period is intended to allow the public to weigh in on these important initiatives prior to a decision,” Mathews said.

The assessment's alternatives

In addition to the No Action Alternative, two action alternatives have been formulated that take into account the Army’s needs for Army 2020 Force realignment. Read hte full report here.

Alternative 1: Implement force reductions
Inactivate Brigade Combat Teams and realign both Combat Support and Service Support units between Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2020

Fort Benning, GA
Fort Knox, KY
Fort Polk, LA
Fort Wainwright, AK
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK
Fort Bliss, TX
Fort Bragg, NC
Fort Campbell, KY
Fort Carson, CO
Fort Drum, NY
Fort Hood, TX
Fort Riley, KS
Fort Stewart, GA
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
Schofield Barracks, HI
Fort Gordon, GA
Fort Lee, VA
Fort Leonard Wood, MO
Fort Sill, OK
Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA
Fort Irwin, CA
* Non-BCT installation

Alternative 2: Reorganize BCTs
Implement Alternative 1; inactivate additional BCTs; and restructure BCTs to include adding a 3rd Combat Maneuver Battalion

Fort Knox, KY
Fort Polk, LA
Fort Wainwright, AK*
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK
Fort Bliss, TX
Fort Campbell, KY
Fort Carson, CO
Fort Drum, NY
Fort Hood, TX
Fort Riley, KS
Fort Stewart, GA
Schofield Barracks, HI
*Stryker Brigade Combat Team
 

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