Fort Gordon will hold a “listening session” Thursday to give area residents, community leaders and elected officials an opportunity to provide feedback on potential troop reductions at the local Army post.
The meeting, which is scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. at Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, is one of 29 sessions being held across the nation at all installations that have an Army military and civilian permanent population of 5,000 or greater.
Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, will give a brief presentation on the process for determining where and how the reductions will be made.
“We’re hosting this listening session to make sure that the concerns of our CSRA communities can be brought directly to the Army prior to force structure and associated stationing decisions,” Patterson said in a news release. “The Army values public input in this process, and we consider it vital that our friends and neighbors here have the opportunity to make their voices heard before decisions affecting Fort Gordon are made.”
No decisions regarding planned reductions at Fort Gordon or elsewhere have been made yet. The reductions being considered are not related to sequestration. Instead, they are intended to help the Army reduce and reorganize its forces to achieve the fiscal reductions required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The Army previously announced a planned active-component reduction of 80,000 soldiers, from a 2010 high of 570,000 to 490,000 by the end of fiscal year 2017.
A large crowd is expected to attend, which could include Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who sent out a mass e-mail last week requesting a good showing from the community at the session.
“Cities across the country have turned out large numbers of their citizens to rally for their installations,” Copenhaver wrote. “It is important that our region be well represented.”
Copenhaver said the session marks the final opportunity for the community to voice concerns over the impact of cuts to Fort Gordon.
During the meeting, community leaders will have the opportunity to offer comments/concerns in a town hall setting and two representatives from the Department of the Army will observe and ensure the minutes from the session are included in the deliberations for the force reductions.