U.S. Senator tours Fort Benning amid fears of military cuts - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

U.S. Senator tours Fort Benning amid fears of military cuts

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson flew in and out of Columbus today, August 13, to visit with local business leaders and to speak with military officials about the future of Fort Benning.

With America's military withdrawing most of its personnel from overseas, a recent Army study is predicting a strong possibility that Fort Benning will no longer be home to the same percentage of the nation's fighting force.  Exact figures and dates are vague, but the highest estimates will take more than $1.3 billion worth of income and indirect economic growth from the region. 

We caught up with Johnny Isakson, the U.S. Senator from Georgia, near the end of his visit to Columbus as he was about to board a plane at the airport.  In addition to touring St. Francis Hospital's expanded facility and NCR's ATM factory, he also met with top officials at Fort Benning to discuss the present situation.

He says that based on the intelligence of what's coming out of the Middle East, the fears of what Iran and ISIS are doing, the possibility of their having nuclear material, and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the pressure for us to keep a strong military is still great. 

Isakson declined to commit himself to a prediction about specific cuts at Fort Benning, but he ended by saying he is fine with the cuts if they're necessary, but he is against the cuts if they are going to hurt the country's military readiness.  But according to Isakson, there are a lot of indications that the current need for readiness will not go away soon. 

The Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce sent a note to its members asking for their help. Executive vice president Gary Jones has been discussing the impending action by Department of Army for many months with organizations who have an interest in the region's welfare. They're encouraging the public to petition the government as they accept feedback on the matter between now and the end of August.

Depending on who you talk to, the predictions for the year 2020 are anywhere between 10,000 and 14,000 positions will be progressively eliminated at Fort Benning.  However, nothing is guaranteed and no date has been set for a final decision.

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