Governor Perdue, Senators Chambliss and Isakson Hit the Road to Support Georgia Military Bases
|Friday, May 13, 2005||
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Georgia Second in the Nation in Net Military Gains
ATLANTA – Today the United States Department of Defense (DOD) announced potential military base closures and mission gains in Georgia . DOD recommended the closure of Fort Gillem , Fort McPherson , the Naval Air Station, and the Naval Supply Corps School , while adding missions at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Fort Benning , the Marine Corps Logistics Base, Moody Air Force Base, Robins Air Force Base, the Savannah International Airport Air Guard Station and the Submarine Base at Kings Bay . Georgia is second only to Maryland in net military gains.
Governor Sonny Perdue, Senator Saxby Chambliss and Senator Johnny Isakson held a press conference at the State Capitol to announce their commitment to provide support to affected communities.
The next step in the Pentagon's effort to reduce excess military infrastructure in the United States is for the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission to perform an independent, three-month analysis of the Department of Defense recommendation. After the analysis, the Commission will make a final recommendation of base closures to President Bush. The President must accept or reject the list in its entirety. If accepted, the President will submit the list to Congress for a vote.
“ Georgia has done everything possible to prepare for this process. Now that we have the Department of Defense recommendations, we're committing to provide full support as base communities argue their mission value before the BRAC Commission,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “We will fight to keep these bases open. If the Commission decides to close them, and the President and Congress agree, then we will be there every step of the way with methods for redevelopment. Our base communities have been prudent managers and are prepared for this possibility. ”
While the BRAC Commission could cause Georgia to lose individual military bases, the state will likely see a net increase in military personnel located here. “It is tragic that specific communities could lose installations, but the Pentagon's realignment efforts demonstrate yet again Georgia 's importance to our nation's security,” said Governor Perdue.
Georgia has been preparing for the BRAC Commission review for four years. Governor Perdue appointed experienced military leaders to the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Council (GMACC) to direct Georgia 's preparation strategy. The Georgia congressional delegation supported more than $600 million for military construction and mission expansion. Community action groups in cities all over the state have raised millions for quality of life studies and military value studies for their bases. Governor Perdue met twice with senior military officials at the Pentagon.
For three years Governor Perdue and the Georgia General Assembly focused on policy changes through legislation benefiting military service men, women and their families. Legislation has enacted anti-encroachment restrictions near military bases, eliminated predatory lenders in base communities, funded road and highway improvements, provided in-state tuition for military dependants, provided unemployment insurance benefits for military spouses who must leave their jobs due to a deployment, and implemented automatic extensions of licenses to actively deployed military personnel.
Today Governor Perdue, Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson plan to travel together to each Georgia community affected by the DOD announcement.