Georgia editorial roundup

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Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

July 6

Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, on proposed Fort Stewart cuts:

Coastal Georgians know the importance of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield to their communities. But more importantly, they recognize the importance of this U.S. Army installation to America’s security.

That’s why the latest report from Washington about the Army’s proposed realignment for 2020 is alarming.

If leaders in Washington want to make America less secure as the world is becoming more unstable, they’re doing a bang-up job.

The Army’s the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment shows as many as 16,000 soldiers and Defense Department civilians could be slashed from Fort Stewart if drastic spending cuts are required by further sequestration. That’s not reducing fat. That’s cutting muscle and bone.

About 20,000 soldiers are stationed at the Southeast Georgia base. About 3,000 military civilians support what the soldiers do. This worst-case reduction in force - if it happens - would be devastating.

And Fort Stewart isn’t being singled out either. Nine other major Army installations face similar deep cuts.

No area of federal spending should consider it immune from spending cuts. Government must live within its means - and that includes the military.

At the same time, our nation’s budget shouldn’t be balanced on the back of the military either.

The report came from the U.S. Army Environmental Command. It helps the Army plan in advance, trying to anticipate what the White House and Congress might do.

Army officials emphasized the report was designed only to help leaders identify posts where units could be removed. They indicated no decisions had been made as the Army draws down its troops to potentially as low as 420,000 soldiers.

At Fort Stewart, those maximum level cuts assume the loss of a second combat brigade and 60 percent of soldiers in units outside of brigade combat teams. Soldiers and Army civilians at Hunter - Savannah’s extension of Fort Stewart - were not considered.

At about 280,000 acres, Fort Stewart is the largest military reservation east of the Mississippi River. It’s an important training post. But more than that, it’s the tip of a spear.

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