The stereotype of a prosperous, upwardly mobile Atlanta & a depressed, struggling So. Ga. should not be considered headed for the scrap heap.
When either Georgia suffers, Georgia suffers.
I personally do not understand the closure of Fort McPherson.
The reason you read that 85% of the initial Pentagon recommendations remain final is because the changing the list requires seven of nine votes from the BRAC commission. Thus it is unlikely that the list will see any major changes, although Fort McPherson could be within the 15% that the independent BRAC commission changes.
Our state's military bases have been important to all of Georgia and its economy for years, and by all of Georgia in this context I mean the metro and Middle and South Georgia.
Part of my stump speech last summer -- this one given in Warner Robins -- was as follows:
Because of Georgia’s political giants Sen. Richard Russell and Congressman Carl Vinson, Georgia received the lion’s share of military dollars spent in the United States not only before World War II but also after as our nation developed and built its Cold War defense establishment.
Presently Georgia’s 13 military bases and one Navy Supply Corps School contribute $15 billion a year to the state’s economy, about the size of the state’s entire budget. Our state is the sixth-largest state recipient of defense money – around $6 billion – with our military bases boosting local businesses and employing thousands of civilians.
But with this upcoming 2005 round of base closings – this being the fifth round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) – Georgia goes into the year 2005 much more vulnerable than in the past when it has been successful in avoiding a single base closure.
Unlike the prior rounds of base closures that occurred in 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, next year Georgia will be without the protection and political clout of its powerful legislator and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee Sen. Sam Nunn, who in his 23 years in the Senate became the nation’s foremost authority on national defense.
The foregoing is noted in the context of an article this week by the Dean that implies that by having dodged a torpedo, South Georgia's ship has come in:
Has Georgia's world turned upside down?
Could be. . . .
Just a year ago, who would have dreamed Atlanta's Fort McPherson, one of the nation's best-known Army headquarters, would be headed for mothballs? Or that Pentagon budget-cutters would mercifully spare perpetually imperiled Moody Air Force Base at Valdosta and the Marine Corps Supply Depot at Albany?
The Pentagon's Georgia-related proposals help shine a new light on the old notion of Two Georgias. The stereotype of a prosperous, upwardly mobile Atlanta and a depressed, struggling South Georgia may be headed for the scrap heap.
Atlanta is beset with fresh economic and social problems, certain to be aggravated by the base closings. Yet parts of South Georgia, particularly on the coast, are thriving as never before. The prospective military moves will help them.
The Pentagon recommended adding personnel and expanding missions at bases all across south and middle Georgia. Fort Benning, Kings Bay and Robins Air Force Base were given renewed lives and larger payrolls.
For the Other Georgia, our ship has not come in. The BRAC announcements kept things at bay and then some in the particular areas affected, something for which we are very thankful.
For us everything remains to center on transportation, for as noted on this blog a couple of days ago, transportation to the Other Georgia means economic development.