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CHATTAHOOCHEE VALLEY REGION BATTLES TO STABALIZE FORT BENNING

Posted July 10, 2015    

Contact: Gary Jones 
Tel: 706.327.1566
1200 6th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

CHATTAHOOCHEE VALLEY REGION BATTLES TO STABALIZE FORT BENNING

When the Army announced its drawdown from 570,000 to 490,000 in 2013, the Columbus Chattahoochee Coalition, in concert with the Fort Benning Partnership and Columbus Chamber of Commerce, won the first battle to stabilize Fort Benning and the post actually grew by 76 personnel. Thus, the post was able to avoid any losses. Today, the first effects of the continued drawdown were felt as it was announced that the American Army would continue to reduce its standing Army from 490,000 personnel to 450,000. The loss of approximately 40,000 more from the current Army will be complete by the end of September 2017. Each state with Army posts received cuts; and after many struggles to defend Fort Benning, the Georgia military installation was not immune to defense budget reductions.

The Columbus Chattahoochee Coalition, The Fort Benning Partnership, and the Bi-State Region’s Elected Leadership, in concert with the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce, have sought to defend this historic post; but with training numbers being reduced because of the Army downsizing, the demand for training was reduced and there was less need for the number of civilians and military to train the force, as well as a need for a tactical brigade to help train our warfighters.

“Fort Benning’s last BRAC was a success, with the region welcoming some 18,000 new residents,” said Jerry Newman, chairman of the Fort Benning Partnership. “However, the Chattahoochee region was under no illusions that the drawdown and coming Sequestration would leave Benning unscathed. Our best-case scenario with the drawdown has always been to manage expectations and maintain near the status quo.”

It was announced today that the Army eliminated two more of its remaining 32 brigades, one of which was the 3rd Brigade, currently stationed at Fort Benning. “Some will argue that this is the worst-case scenario, but one might then counter that, although the brigade is being downsized to a Battalion Task Force, we were able to keep thousands more military jobs,” said Gary Jones, Executive Vice President, Military Affairs at the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce. “Having realized that, the region and Washington must renew our efforts and continue to fight on behalf of Fort Benning to minimize the effects of the pending Sequestration in the years to come.”

Assisting the Fort Benning Partnership and Columbus Chattahoochee Coalition is the Spectrum/Principi Group, a professional consultant group in Washington, D.C. “While we are disappointed in the outcome, it could have been exponentially worse,” warns consultant Don Fix. “However, the outpouring of support by the Columbus Regional communities in the form of a letter-writing campaign and superb response to the Department of Army Community Listening Session no doubt saved thousands upon thousands of jobs that were on the chopping block. With the continued support of the Region and the Spectrum/Principi Group’s ongoing effort in the Capitol, Fort Benning’s best interests will be heard.”

The Columbus Chattahoochee Coalition and Fort Benning Partnership has launched an aggressive media awareness and social engagement campaign today that will include informative Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on both TV and radio, billboards, and an interactive website featuring updates, articles, videos, an online petition, and a pre-written letter citizens can sign and mail to their representatives.

“The fight to preserve the strength and integrity of Fort Benning has only just begun,” Brian Anderson, C.E.O of the Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce. “It is important that our Regional community – which includes Columbus, Phenix City, our Metropolitan Support Area and the post itself – remain armed with the most current information regarding Sequestration; maintain vigilance in showing their dedication to Fort Benning; and let those in political power know that we and they must protect our post. We have Benning’s back, because Benning has always had ours.”

On Monday, July 13th, a press conference will be held updating the media and the business and military communities, describing our continued renewed attack against Sequestration. It will be held at 1:45 in the Sanders Room at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. All media is invited to attend.

For more information, please visit GrowBenning.com.

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For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gary Jones, Executive Vice President, Military Affairs at 706.327.1566.
 

 

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