Beshear criticizes Defense Dept. decision to eliminate Fort Knox brigade as 'short term' thinking

06/25/2013 04:44 PM

Both of Kentucky’s major military bases are slated to lose a combat brigade as part of Department of Defense downgrading amid federal budget cuts.

But the plans, announced Tuesday, will hit Fort Knox hardest by eliminating its only combat brigade, the Third Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division, that moved to the base in 2009 after the last round of base realignment.

Gov. Steve Beshear called the move “surprising” and “disappointing” in a statement Tuesday. He said it could remove nearly 10,000 military personnel and their families from the Fort Knox area in northern Hardin County.

“While I understand that the Departments of the Army and Defense must adjust to the current budget realities, this decision seems to focus on shorter term savings at the expense of longer term readiness,” Beshear said. “We are surprised by the Army’s decision to inactivate this well-positioned brigade, particularly because DOD has invested more than $500 million in military construction to support the brigade and provide quality of life for soldiers and families since locating the brigade here in 2009.”

The Department of Defense is making 12 brigades inactive at 10 bases nationwide, shrinking the number of combat-ready brigades to 33, as the
Associated Press reported

Beshear called on the Defense Department to “consider Fort Knox” for additional functions during future base alignment efforts.

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