With less than two weeks before the comment period ends on an Army assessment calling for nearly 11,000 military and civilian jobs slashed at Fort Benning, post supporters aren’t exactly flooding Fort Sam Houston with letters of support.
The joint base in Texas has collected 14,500 comments from a total of 29 installations since the Supplemental Environmental Programmatic Assessment was released on June 25. Cathy Kropp, a public affairs spokesman at the U.S. Army Environmental Command, said Fort Benning has generated a little more than 50 comments. She said Fort Knox, Ky., topped all installations with almost 6,000 comments.
Public comments about the proposed workforce reduction should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can also be sent via mail to: U. S. Army Environmental Command, Attn: SPEA Public Comments, 2450 Connell Road (Bldg. 2264), Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, 78234-7664.
All public comments must be submitted by Aug. 25.
While no decision has been made on the cuts, the Army plans to reduce the force from 490,000 soldiers to 420,000 by 2020 as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.
At Fort Benning, the post could lose a total of 10,767 jobs, including 9,493 soldiers and 1,274 civil service positions. A reduction in jobs on post could impact another 1,918 jobs in the local area.
Fort Gordon and Fort Stewart are the other two Georgia posts on the list. The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning avoided cuts in the assessment last year but the 4,100-soldier brigade is again facing the budget axe.
To make sure the opinions of Columbus area supporters are known, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce has called on residents to take action. Gary Jones, executive vice president of military affairs with the chamber, was unavailable Tuesday for comment.
Kropp said specific groups are set up to support the military in some communities. “They do campaigns and they set up sites that make it easy for commentors,” she said. “They have public meetings and formal areas and that kind of thing. Some communities do that and some don’t.”
After the comment period ends, Kropp said, it will take about two weeks to process the mail. The information is summarized and published in a document on the government’s website.
Information from the comments goes to the Army leadership that will make the force structure decision along with other information. “This is one piece of a huge puzzle of all the things we need to check out before making a decision,” Kropp said.
No date has been set for a decision on the assessment.
Written comments should be sent to U.S. Army Environmental Command, Attention: SPEA Public Comments, 2450 Connell Road, Building 2264, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. 78234-7664, or email email@example.com For information, call 210-466-1590 or toll free at 855-846-3940.