Originally created 05/13/05

Fort Gordon survives first BRAC list



Fort Gordon has survived the first hurdle of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round, officials in Congress said this morning.

But while it has avoided the Pentagon's closure list, officials say it's not listed to gain missions from other bases' closure.

Officials from the office of U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., confirmed that the post, along with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, was not on the Pentagon's list, which was released to Congress at 9:15 a.m..

However, officials from the offices of U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., and U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said that Fort Gordon was not put on a list of bases slated to gain anything, essentially leaving the post at status quo.

Augusta officials had been cautiously optimistic of the post's survival and hoped to reap new missions - thus new soldiers and their families, bringing economic growth - from other bases that would be closed.

Thom Tuckey, the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon's military advisor, said that it appears that there are no missions identified to come here at the moment, but that could change days or weeks down the road.

New missions could still come to the fort, he said.

"We'll know more with the data," he said, referring to the Pentagon's expected release today of more BRAC-related data that deals with the decision-making process.

And, "status quo is still better than closure or realignment," said Mr. Tuckey, a former garrison commander at the installation. "I'm surely not disappointed."

Georgia was expected to have at least one base closed, as it had not lost any during prior rounds.

So far, four bases have made it to the list - Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson in metro Atlanta, Naval Air Station Atlanta in Marietta and the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens.

Those listed as gainers in Georgia, according to the congressmen's offices, include Fort Benning in Columbus; Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta; the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany; Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta; Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins and the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base on the southern Georgia coast.

East of the Savannah River, South Carolina's military bases fared relatively well.

According to a Defense Department document given to Congress and obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, Fort Jackson near Columbia, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, McEntire Air Guard Station and Shaw Air Force Base survived and will gain personnel.

The Pentagon is expected to officially release the list to the general public at a 10:30 a.m. news conference.

More data is expected to be provided on the department's BRAC Web site, www.defenselink.mil/brac after the news conference.

Augusta officials will hold a 2 p.m. news conference on post, featuring Mayor Bob Young and Maj. Gen. Janet Hicks, the commander of Fort Gordon.

The Pentagon's list today is not the final step of the BRAC process.

The nine-member BRAC Commission must review the list, and then forward it to President Bush for approval or rejection by September.

The president cannot add or subtract specific bases from the list.

If he rejects the list, the commission must revise its recommendations and resubmit it to the president.

In either case, upon the president's approval, Congress has 45 days from his decision to enact a joint resolution of disapproval.

Otherwise, the closures become law.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.

GEORGIA'S BRAC-ED BASES

ARMY:

  • Fort Gillem, Forest Park (suburban Atlanta)
  • Fort McPherson, Atlanta
  • NAVY:

  • Naval Air Station Atlanta, Marietta
  • Navy Supply Corps School, Athens
  • SOURCE: Offices of U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., and U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

    About the list

    The Department of Defense will stream the Pentagon news conference this morning through its Web site, www.pentagonchannel.mil. The official documentation of the list will be at www.defenselink.mil/brac.

    Timeline

    July 1: The Government Accountability Office releases a review of the Pentagon's recommendations for closure.

    Sept. 8: President Bush receives BRAC Commission's recommendations.

    Sept. 23: Mr. Bush approves or rejects the BRAC Commission's base list. If he approves it, the recommendations move to Congress, which has 45 days to accept or reject the entire list.

    Oct. 20: If the list is rejected by the president, the commission's revised recommendations are submitted to the president.

    Nov. 7: The president submits the revised list to Congress, if necessary.

    Source: U.S. Defense Department