Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia will hold a listening session with the public Thursday from Noon to 2pm. Military leaders are looking for community to provide feedback on potential troop reductions. The Army is looking to cut its force by thousands of troops by 2017.
The Army plans to eliminate 8 to 15 Brigade combat teams as the nation withdraws from active combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Georgia, that could hit Fort Benning and Fort Stewart the hardest.
J.C. Matthews, a spokesman for the Fort, says the Army plans to reduce its troops by 80 thousand worldwide.
“From a high of 570 thousand in 2010 down to a goal of 490 thousand by the end of 2017. With reductions of that scope, virtually all installations in the Army will be affected in some way.”he says.
An Army study found the reductions could cut as many as 43 hundred jobs at Fort Gordon. Thom Tuckey with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce says that could have a large economic impact.
He says “Every position at the Fort that’s eliminated, using a conservative Department of Commerce multiplier, it creates 2 jobs in the community.”
Tuckey says it would also impact programs at Georgia Regents University set up for Middle East studies. And local school districts near the Fort could lose 1-point-4 million dollars a year in impact aid .
Listening sessions have already taken place at Fort Benning and Fort Stewart. By the end of April the Army will have gotten community feedback from 29 installations across the country.
No word on when the reduction decisions will be made.