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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 1:26pm

US Army Secretary Visits Ft. Stewart

The US Army Secretary talked about budget cuts with leaders at Ft. Stewart on Tuesday.

Secretary John McHugh paid a visit to the largest Army post east of the Mississippi River.

He told reporters a plan to shrink Ft. Stewart by about 1,400 soldiers is part of a nationwide budget-cutting effort affecting many communities.

"Ft. Stewart was not singled out," McHugh said. "Every multi-brigade post in the continental United States lost a brigade as well."

The Army announced last year it would reduce the nation's fighting force by 80,000 soldiers, including a brigade at Ft. Stewart.

"This drawdown, as difficult as it was, was done in a way, I think, that minimized the negative effects of downsizing in the past," McHugh said.

The loss of a brigade at Ft. Stewart is partially offset by gains in battalions.

But the plan to do so by 2017 was sped up to next year because of continuing budget pressure in the nation's capital.