Augusta's Fort Gordon tightens belt
by Adam Folk
Associated Press Writer
January 23, 2011 12:00 AM | 746 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Kennedy speaks with a reporter at Fort Gordon in Augusta in May. In 2010,  Fort Gordon's base operating budget shrank by about 10 percent from the previous year.
Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Kennedy speaks with a reporter at Fort Gordon in Augusta in May. In 2010, Fort Gordon's base operating budget shrank by about 10 percent from the previous year.
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AUGUSTA - There aren't as many dining halls at Fort Gordon, and some of the greenspace looks a bit shabbier, but it's all part of an effort to minimize the pain from last year's cuts to the post's basic services.

In 2010, Fort Gordon's base operating budget shrank by about 10 percent from the previous year.

That money mainly deals with the daily operation of the post power, roads, ground maintenance and not with construction work, according to Col. Glenn Kennedy, the post's garrison commander.

To hold down non-war spending while building up troop levels in Afghanistan, military officials announced last January they would cut the portion of the Army budget dedicated to running bases by 20 percent.

"We were able to absorb it by looking internally and seeing where we could really cut where we could trim a little bit of excess and tighten the belt without any negative impacts," said Kennedy, who acts as a kind of mayor for the post.

Aside from cutting the grass less often, Kennedy said, the fort reduced part of its fleet of government vehicles, limited cell phones for employees, and cut back on business travel and overtime. After determining which dining facility had the least attendance, Kennedy said, officials closed it.

What they haven't cut is personnel.

"I think it's fair to say, just like our brethren in the cities and counties around us, reduced budgets are going to become the flavor of the day," the garrison commander said.

"We're going to have to continue to deal with those and try to minimize the impact on the soldiers and families that we serve."

Looking ahead, Kennedy said, it is hard to judge how any pending cuts could affect operations. The post is still operating on money from the Continuing Resolution Act basically stopgap funding that "keeps you on life support" until Congress passes a budget.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently proposed cutting Pentagon spending by $78 billion over five years, phasing out any growth above inflation. If Congress approves Gates' plan, spending will increase for two more years, then flatten out in fiscal year 2015.

Kennedy said the number of soldiers training at Fort Gordon is projected to remain steady, but if the Army is ordered to cut troops by 27,000 soldiers, as Gates' plan suggests, Fort Gordon will not go unscathed. If enacted, those cuts wouldn't occur until 2015-16.

"If we would see a drop, I think it would be modest," he said.

None of that has affected construction at the post. Kennedy said barracks and classroom renovation, a new barracks and road paving continue .

"I think it's fair to say that in the future, as we progress, we'll continue to see budget cuts," he said. "We're doing well in a time of constrained resources."
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