Metro Atlanta lost three of its four military bases in the Pentagon’s last round of base closings in 2005.
Nine years later, deep spending cuts proposed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and a potential restructuring of the Air Force have business leaders in Cobb County worried about losing Dobbins Air Reserve Base, the only military base left in the region.
A committee of executives formed by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce is putting together a campaign to educate military officials and Georgia’s congressional delegation on Dobbins’ importance both to the military and the local economy.
“It’s a huge economic engine,” said David Connell, president and CEO of the Cobb Chamber. “If it closed down, it would take a long, long time to recover.”
After escaping unscathed from earlier rounds of cost-cutting base closures during the 1980s and 1990s, metro Atlanta lost the Army’s Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem in 2005, as well as Naval Air Station Atlanta, located adjacent to Dobbins in Marietta.
While there haven’t been additional base closings since then, Hagel announced Feb. 24 that he would ask Congress in 2017 to identify a new list of bases for closure.
“The reality of reduced resources and a challenging and changing strategic environment requires us to prioritize and make difficult choices,” Hagel said during a Pentagon news conference. “We cannot fully achieve our goals for overhead reductions without cutting unnecessary and costly infrastructure.”
Transport planes have a hard time finding a new home in the world of Defense, politics – The Washington Post
Closing military bases and consolidating operations to save money are not simple moves.
Take the Air Force’s constantly shifting plans to move 10 of the 20 C-130J Super Hercules transport planes. Stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., the planes are part of the Air Force Reserve 403rd Wing and are used primarily for tactical airlift missions.
Plans for where the planes and their crews should move have changed repeatedly, and at a head-spinning pace.
In February 2012, the Air Force announced that it would relocate Keesler’s 10 C-130J aircraft to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia. It was part of a long-term plan to save about $480 million.
At that time, Rep. Steven M. Palazzo (R-Miss.), who represents the area, told a local TV station, “We’re just going to ask the tough questions and . . . if they don’t have the right answers, I think it’s going to be safe, because we have to protect Keesler’s mission.”
Tough questioning turned up that moving to Dobbins would require larger hangars, which would require more money.
In March 2013, the Air Force announced that it had changed plans: The 10 C-130Js would be going to Pope Field, near Fayetteville, N.C., where there were hangars to accommodate the planes.
A group of top Air Force generals will gather behind closed doors at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday to hash through ways to cut 3,400 positions from the service as part of a proposal to shave $1.6 billion from the Pentagon’s budget over the coming five years, defense officials said this week.
The proposed cuts, which would require congressional approval, have emerged as a source of internal bickering and hand-wringing among Air Force brass in recent weeks — mainly because they involve a plan to consolidate all of the service’s base operations under the umbrella of a single new operations center.
The Washington Times first reported this month that several Air Force generals privately voiced frustration about the plan, which effectively would strip them of their authority to oversee operations, spending and decision-making at individual bases.
Pentagon sources have told The Times that there is still uncertainty over where the central operations center will be, but Joint Base Andrews is among the possibilities. Unease apparently is growing over which aspects of the Air Force are most likely to bear the brunt of the job cuts under the plan.
MARTA inched closer to a history-making expansion on Tuesday, but not to the extent many had hoped.
Clayton County commissioners, in a 3-2 vote, opted to let voters decide in a Nov. 4 referendum whether to fund MARTA service within the county by paying a half-penny sales tax. The half-penny sales tax is expected to generate about $25 million.
MARTA officials have said that’s not enough to fund a rail expansion. But it could revive robust bus service as early as next year in a county that has been lacking local public transportation since 2010.
It’s unclear if the MARTA board will approve the Clayton’s participation in the transit system without the same level of sales tax support that Fulton, DeKalb and the city of Atlanta contribute.
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Georgia Congressman Jack Kinsgton made a stop in Columbus on Monday June 30.
He met with local leaders at the National Infantry Museum to talk about maintaining a strong national defense and fighting for Fort Benning– which is a huge economic boost for Columbus and the state of Georgia.
It’s all part of the Kingston’s American Renewal Tour.
“In terms of knowing the military and working on military policy and serving on the defense committee, and making it my number one committee assignment, I am the one who’s going to best represent Fort Benning and the surrounding area,” Kingston said.
U.S. Senate candidate Jack Kingston made a quick campaign stop in Warner Robins Monday afternoon where he talked about strengthening national defense.
He says as a senator, his top committee assignment would be the armed services.
One of his top priorities he says is strengthening the Robins Air Force Base.
He also spoke about the problems with the VA hospitals, saying it needs a top-down review.
“We need to make sure that our servicemen and women have the best healthcare system that there is. We owe it to them. The day they take off the uniform, it’s our turn to say thank you to you for your service, now we’re going to make sure you have good healthcare,” said Kingston.
WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Congressman Jack Kingston says he’s on a mission to put support in the country’s armed services at the forefront of his campaign.
The U.S. Senate candidate stopped in Warner Robins Monday afternoon. He believes the men and women who protect the country should be protected themselves both here and abroad.
Kingston says it’s time to shake things up in D.C.
“I’m leaving what would be a safe re-election in the house to enter a political street brawl to earn the right to fight for change in the United States of America,” he said.
A couple of dozen people were on hand to hear how Kingston wants to bring support of the country’s armed services to the capitol.
“I have devoted my congressional career to make sure that our military is well trained and well equipped. I don’t want them to ever have to fight a fair fight. I want them to go into any conflict with the outcome certain,” Kingston said.
The longtime congressman is up against David Perdue in a runoff.
“My seniority in the house goes with me to the United States senate,” Kingston said.
AUSTELL— Commissioner Lisa Cupid says she has been fielding requests for more sidewalks in her district since before she took office in 2012.
As county commissioners each prepare a list of projects in their districts to be funded with a proposed 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax, Cupid says spending $25 million on building more sidewalks is her top priority.
Cupid estimates her south Cobb district would collect $80 to $100 million during a six year SPLOST. County Chairman Tim Lee says a six year SPLOST would collect a total of $750 million.
Other list-topping projects include updating support technology, improving public facilities and providing better public safety resources.
MARIETTA — A week after declaring a possible conflict of interest in the case, the Cobb Superior Court judge set to validate bonds for the new Braves stadium has recused himself.
Judge Tain Kell issued a recusal order late Tuesday afternoon, explaining that he wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
“Our legal system is based on the principle an independent, fair and competent judiciary will interpret and apply the laws that govern us,” reads the recusal order. “The role of the judiciary is central to American concepts of justice and the rule of law.”
Kell is a board member of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Vice President Brooks Mathis helped lead the group’s efforts to draw the baseball franchise to Cobb. The bond hearing is set for July 7, with Judge Robert Leonard presiding in place of Kell.
“While the court is unaware of any party to this action having moved the undersigned judge to recuse himself, the court believes that it is of utmost importance that any hint of impropriety or partiality with respect to the judicial officer who hears the case be taken into consideration,” the order reads.
KENNESAW — Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews said the bulk of the $30.6 million his city would receive under a renewed sales tax program would go toward improving conditions along busy or dangerous streets.
The Cobb Board of Commissioners is expected to finalize a project list July 22, and voters would decide whether to renew a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax to fund those projects Nov. 4.
Chief among the mayor’s concerns is the Sardis Street overpass, a juncture at which two roads and a railroad converge.
“For the city, No. 1 (priority) is probably going to be our Sardis Street overpass, which is over the railroad, and which will help the very dangerous intersection at Cherokee and Main,” Mathews said.
The proposed project would “create a new overpass and new access to Main Street, without being bogged down by the train and the very unsafe crossing.”