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Fort Bragg prepares for growth; study looks at noise around the post

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By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: November 17, 2017

SPRING LAKE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — Fort Bragg leaders anticipate at least 2,500 new troops will move to the nation’s largest military installation in the coming years.

The additional troops were discussed Thursday during a meeting of the Regional Land Use Advisory Commission, a nonprofit organization that helps manage growth around the Army post.

The commission also discussed an ongoing Joint Land Use Study for the area around Fort Bragg and new data on noise impacts on and off post and honored a former member of the commission.

Fort Bragg is home to more than 54,000 service members, including students and Reservists. That’s more than any other U.S. military installation. And the post is believed to be one of if not the largest military installation in the world.

Roger Vickers, stationing and installation plan manager for the sprawling post, said the expected growth is based in part on decisions that have not yet been finalized.

He said Fort Bragg would have a clearer picture of its future growth in the coming months.

“We anticipate as we sit here today that over the next five years Fort Bragg is going to grow by some 2,500 personnel,” Vickers aid. “That includes growth in almost every major tenant on the installation.”

Vickers based his projections on the coming three-to-five years at Fort Bragg. He specifically listed U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Medical Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command as major tenants expected to see some growth.

“We look forward to the growth and anticipate the growth and think we will be able to accommodate the growth,” he said.

Other than continued growth in Fort Bragg’s special operations community, Vickers said new construction will not be required to accommodate the expected growth.

He said special operations forces continue to move into new buildings at the site of Fort Bragg’s former ammunition supply point, which is alternatively known as Patriot Point or the Lt. Gen. William P. Yarborough Special Operations Forces Complex.

Other potential additions to Fort Bragg could come with the creation of two new units.

Vickers said the installation is being considered for one of the Army’s security force assistance brigades, a new type of unit that was first launched at Fort Benning, Georgia.

If an SFAB is brought to Fort Bragg, he said that could bring about 800 personnel.

Vickers said the Army is also considering standing up a CONUS Replacement Center at Fort Bragg. Such a center would prepare Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers prior to deployments.

If one is created at Fort Bragg, it could potentially bring thousands of soldiers to the installation each year for training. Vickers said the location of the center and the amount of permanent personnel that would be assigned to it is still to be determined.

The Army currently has one CONUS Replacement Center at Fort Bliss, Texas. It consolidated three other centers to Bliss in 2013.

In addition to monitoring growth at Fort Bragg, the RLUAC — which includes officials from the installation, eight surrounding counties and 13 municipalities — is also leading the creation of a new Joint Land Use Study for the region.

Jason Epley, of Benchmark Planning, said officials hoped to present a draft of the study in March with the final study being released in August.

Vagn Hansen, also of Benchmark, presented the latest data gathered as part of the study, which dealt with noise on and around Fort Bragg.

Hansen said new noise data gathered by the military shows a slightly larger impact caused by the larger weapons at Fort Bragg, but a shrinking impact from aircraft at Pope Field and Simmons Army Airfield.

The biggest noise impacts are found on either side of Fort Bragg’s old ammunition supply point, which juts out into West Fayetteville.

Hundreds of homes are affected by the noise, but Hansen said there is no risk of harm from the sound. Instead, he said the noise would be more likely an annoyance or could affect home sales.

Hansen noted that many of the residents in that area and other residential areas around Fort Bragg have long lived with the noise.

In the future, he said municipalities of areas affected by the noise may choose to limit the types of land uses in those areas.

In other business, the RLUAC honored former member Tad Davis with a distinguished service award.

Davis, the former town manager of Spring Lake and a former garrison commander at Fort Bragg, recently took a job with the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. Davis is now the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment.

dbrooks@fayobserver.com

©2017 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)
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