One Knox seeks public support to stave off Fort Knox cuts

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The One Knox Policy Council of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the CORE Committee, the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, area chambers of commerce and community leaders, is asking the public to electronically sign a letter discouraging the Army from making further cuts in personnel at Fort Knox. The letter can be found at www.oneknox.com/letter.

In what’s called the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment http://aec.army.mil/Portals/3/nepa/Army2020SPEA-FNSI.pdf, the Army is considering how it would be organized if it has to reduce its workforce to 420,000 soldiers by 2020. One option being considered calls for cuts of about 7,600 military and civilian personnel at Fort Knox. That includes the 3/1 Brigade Combat Team of 3,500 soldiers, which has already been inactivated.

“That means an additional 4,100 cuts are being considered,” said Brad Richardson, CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. “That would erase all of the gains we saw as a result of BRAC 2005 and then some.”

Richardson said the cuts could equate to as much as $500 million in lost payroll and spending power in the region.

That obviously would have a severely negative impact, Richardson said, and decision makers should not overlook what the region and the state did to prepare for Fort Knox’s growth as a result of BRAC 2005.

The letter One Knox drafted showcases the many actions taken to support Fort Knox and the Army including local business who helped finance community tours, the development of new college courses, as well as the commonwealth’s $251 million in infrastructure investments.

Richardson says that level of support, coupled with all of the attributes the installation and the region offer, actually make it an ideal location for growth.

“We need the public’s help in making our case,” said Richardson, noting a strong letter-writing campaign will help illustrate the depth of the region’s support of Fort Knox.

The Army designated a public comment period on the SPEA options through Aug. 25. Those interested in electronically signing can simply fill out the fields at the bottom of the letter and it will be automatically forwarded to a designated email address at the Pentagon.