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June 9, 2016

Georgia House names BRAC study committee

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In anticipation of another round of proposed military base closures by the Pentagon, Georgia legislators this year passed a resolution establishing a study committee.  The committee, appointed by House Speaker David Ralston, is tasked with developing strategies to stave off threats to Georgia's military installations.

The Washington Post reported nearly two years ago that the Defense Department's force reduction and its need to enhance military readiness are root causes for the scheduled Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

"So far, the Army has almost gotten down to 490,000, largely through reducing its presence overseas, and shrinking the number of free-floating soldiers who aren’t assigned a base. The next 40,000, however, will largely come from people stationed at installations."

The Post article also points out that some military installations, such as Fort Benning in Columbus, may stand to gain from BRAC.

"Some installations might even benefit from a BRAC round, like Fort Benning in Georgia, a large base that could pick up extra troops if the Army is allowed to consolidate. But if the budget caps set by sequestration aren’t lifted, negative impacts could be more widespread. That’s why even Fort Benning, fearful of losing the units it has, is waging a campaign to avert the worst."

 

Dave Williams with the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that Georgia's congressional delegation has been girding for BRAC. In fact, the defense authorization bill passed by the U.S. House Armed Services Committee in April would prohibit the process from moving forward.  U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson recently spoke to the issue, saying each of Georgia's bases can make a strong case.

"There’s the search-and-rescue role played by Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, the Navy’s reliance on the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Marys, the supply mission of the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany and the overseas troop deployment role of the Army’s Fort Stewart."

"Every branch of the service has a major supply chain logistics presence in Georgia,...They’re not easily expendable.”

The BRAC timeline aligns with the 2017 federal fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2016.

Georgia's state House study committee is slated to conduct a minimum of five meetings on the topic in coming months with recommendations due by December 1, 2016.

BRAC House Study Committee 

Rep. Dave Belton, Chairman (R-Buckhead)

Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire)

 

Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta)

Rep. Mike Cheokas (R-Americus)

Rep. David Clark (R-Buford)

Rep. Heath Clark (R-Warner Robins)

Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park)

Rep. Darryl Ealum (D-Albany)

Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro)

Rep. Bill Hitchens (R-Rincon)

Rep. Brian Prince (D-Augusta)

Rep. Ed Rynders (R-Albany)

Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus)

Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus)

Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway)