New brigade coming to Ft. Benning to impact the local economy by $63M

Gary Jones
Gary Jones
Carmen Cavezza
Carmen Cavezza

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - Approximately 500 new troops will move to the Columbus area by October 2017, which will affect the area by $63 million annually, according to the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of Military Affairs Gary Jones.

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) announced the U.S. Army will locate a new Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Benning.

Ret. Army Lt. Gen. and former commander at Fort Benning Carmen Cavezza said its an addition which Fort Benning deserves.

"I think that Benning, in my mind…is the premiere installation and they are good at what they do," said Cavezza.

The announcement is the first of a total of six newly planned security force missions by the U.S. Army. The news comes on the heels of last week's announcement that the U.S. Army would locate two new missions at Fort Benning that would bring 85 positions to Columbus.

Cavezza who served as the long time City Manager of Columbus even explained, these troops wont only just be bringing their military expertise to the area.

"The rebuilding of our armed forces to strengthen our national security has begun, and Fort Benning is an ideal location for this mission," said Senator Johnny Isakson. "I look forward to working with the U.S. Army and the Columbus community as the implementation of this plan proceeds."

"Fort Benning continues to be the premier training installation for the United States Army," said Senator David Perdue, a member of the Armed Services Committee. "Establishing the Army's first Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Benning will bring roughly 500 new positions to Columbus. This, along with the news last week about the Security Force Assistance Proponency and Military Advisor Training Academy, better positions Fort Benning to play a major role in our Army's growth. This decision by the Army is certainly reflective of the hard work of the Chattahoochee Valley community who make Fort Benning an incredibly competitive and capable base."

With this basing decision, Fort Benning will become the U.S. Army's headquarter element for the Security Force Assistance mission to "train, advise, and assist" with the security forces of partner nation militaries. Fort Benning is home to the Maneuver Center of Excellence.

"I'm very optimistic about it I think its going to do well," said Cavezza. "I think its going to put more people on Fort Benning and its going to put more people moving through the area. They come for the training and they move on."

Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of Military Affairs, Gary Jones, also agrees with Cavezza's outlook.

The Maneuver Center of Excellence includes both the U.S. Army Infantry School and the U.S. Army Armor School, which serves as the initial and advanced level of military education and training centers for both maneuver elements.

Jones explained with the recent announcements, the future for Fort Benning is looking even brighter than it was before.

On Feb. 9, it was announced that the U.S. Army would locate their Security Force Assistance headquarter element at Fort Benning's Maneuver Center of Excellence, bringing approximately 15 personnel.

Additionally, Fort Benning would also receive the Military Advisor Training Academy, where U.S. soldiers both enlisted and officers will be trained to perform the Security Force Assistance mission. This component will bring approximately 70 personnel, in addition to students that will rotate through the program.

"It proves that Benning has got a lot of opportunities here," said Cavezza. "At one time we were worried about losing people and now we're going to get more people than we can handle. Benning has  tremendous flexibility and I think there could be more growth in the future."

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