Message from the Chairman
The CSRA has an exceptional relationship with Fort Gordon. This is largely attributable to the fact that we have a stand-alone organization with this focus as its primary mission. The Alliance is the go-to organization for connecting and building military and community links which make partnership and economic development efforts far more efficient and effective than they would be otherwise. The community has been able to maximize and leverage the economic power of Fort Gordon because we have an economic development agency that fills this unique role.
Let me share a little history and background on the Alliance.
The CSRA Alliance was created in March, 2003 by Charlie Norwood as a non-profit organization. The original missions were to:
- Create awareness in the community of the threat of base closure and the potential economic impact should Ft Gordon be realigned or closed.
- To inform political and senior military leaders of the capability and effectiveness of Ft Gordon to perform its missions and accept additional missions.
- To identify and improve area quality of life characteristics so the CSRA would be viewed by the Department of Defense as a favorable place for servicemembers and their families.
- And finally, in the event of closure of Fort Gordon, position the community for base reuse.
Along the way, in the ensuing two and one-half years, we accomplished a lot of things:
- Hired McKenna, Long & Aldridge and Hurt-Norton & Associates as Washington-based partners and resources to interface with our congressional and senior military leadership.
- We did a lot of research on our community and region to promote the CSRA quality of life.
- We defined the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities related to Fort Gordon missions.
- We created public awareness of the issues by making presentations to over 100 civic clubs, business organizations, and government agencies throughout Georgia and South Carolina.
- We served as the Augusta area representative on the Governors Military Affairs Coordinating Committee, working to coordinate state level support and funding for the preservation of Fort Gordon.
- We coordinated numerous visits for community leaders to meet with congressional leaders, senior military leaders, and the US Army Training and Doctrine Command
- We helped coordinate numerous high-level visitors to Ft Gordon to including Gov Perdue, the Commanding General of the Training and Doctrine Command, and Congressional representatives including the Speaker of the House and Senators Chambliss and Isakson.
- And we raised funding from government, business and private donations to support these activities.
The bottom line of all that effort was that the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon was successful in rallying the entire Greater Augusta community behind a common cause - supporting Fort Gordon - and showed that Augustas favorable quality of life and strong support for the military make it a great place for service members and their families to live and work. And in the end, Fort Gordon was basically unaffected by BRAC 2005. What a great success story for the CSRA!
So, whats next? The Pentagon has requested Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds in 2015 and 2017. It is highly unlikely Congress will support a 2015 round, but it is apparent at least one BRAC round is forthcoming. Fort Gordon is likely not a closure candidate, but there is always the potential for mission realignments to and from Fort Gordon over the next few years. The Budget Control Act of 2011 cut $487B from the defense budget. To help manage this reduction the Army has announced a force reduction of 80,000 by 2017. The force reduction decisions announced in July however showed Fort Gordon adding 250 by 2019. Additionally, failure to define an additional $1.2 trillion in reductions as required by the 2011 Budget Control Act has resulted in an additional $56B in defense cuts in FY2013 under sequestration, with additional $50+B in projected cuts every year thru 2021 if sequestration continues. For 2013, this has resulted in elimination of non-emergency repairs and maintenance to facilities, cancellation of training activities, reduction or elimination on non-critical supplies and services, and 6 furlough days for over 3000 civilian employees. If sequestration continues in 2014 and beyond, projections are for civilian position cuts rather than continued furloughs.
The good news is Fort Gordon is well poised for new missions and is projected to become the Armys Cyber Center of Excellence. This, combined with related mission growth, leads to projected overall growth of several thousand military and civilian positions. This makes the CSRA Alliances engagement and advocacy efforts as important as ever. The Alliance has already partnered with the CSRA Regional Commission to orchestrate community growth planning, with emphasis on schools, housing, and transportation road networks. The projected mission growth will also attract many defense contractors to the area adding to the needs mentioned as well as creating additional needs for office space within the CSRA.
To be successful we need the community to assist in our efforts by:
- Ensuring future community planning incorporates Forth Gordon projected growth needs through road improvements, housing area development, school expansion and new school location plans, and development of office parks.
- Showing support for service members and their families through military discounts, events for service members and their families, and just expressing appreciation to those who voluntarily chose to serve in uniform. As members of the community, Fort Gordon service members, civilians and their families need to be welcomed into neighborhoods, churches and schools.
- Participating in Fort Gordon events and utilizing those Fort Gordon activities open to the public such as the Gordon Lakes Golf Course, the Fort Gordon riding stables, bowling center, Gordon Club and dinner theater.
- Assisting the CSRA Alliance in its mission by participating in Alliance sponsored events and assisting with the Alliances annual funding requirements.
Members of community, welcome into neighborhoods, churches, schools, volunteers
We hope we can count on your support!
T. Stan Shepherd, Chairman