Thursday, March 10, 2005

BRAC - Could it hit Knox?

My editor stopped by the sports desk today and gave me a present: "Everything You Know Is Wrong." He’s in the process of moving, and, as a newspaper editor of some tenure, has amassed what I can only guess is a huge library. He said more is on the way. Thanks!

A hot-button topic in military communities these days is the Base Realignment and Closure program (BRAC), which was instituted in the 1990s and aims to consolidate military assets – necessarily resulting in shutting some down.

Bases have significant impact on the surrounding community, not the least of which is financial. Federal dollars pour into the paychecks of the servicemembers and civilians who work there, and are in turn eagerly spent.

This article just appeared in the News-Enterprise: Study projects life after BRAC.Apparently, a federally-funded study is going on to examine what the impact on surrounding communities would be if Fort Knox were to, say, shut completely down (like Fort Dix, New Jersey, for example).

But here’s the official line:

Officials say that's not cause for alarm, insisting the study is entirely separate from the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure and in no way hints that Fort Knox could be on a list of closing installations.

Maybe... but the signs are ominous at best. Fort Knox Garrison is out of money and talks are underway to get the Fort Knox schools absorbed into the Hardin County district. Not exactly the kind of things that bespeak a flourishing installation.

There are other telltale signs, as well - last year, one of the big stories was the institution of the Warrior Transition Course, a program to retrain former servicemembers from other branches, or Army soldiers with a significant break in service, and enter them into the active-duty Army.

While the course is still running here, there won’t be many more cycles at Fort Knox. WTC is moving to Fort Bliss, Texas, in the near future.Rumors have a tendency to build their own momentum, but unfortunately, the Department of Defense has forbidden base commanders, public affairs shops, and any other representatives from commenting on BRAC.

So nothing on the subject will appear in tenant publications, and, I suppose, no constructive comments will appear in interviews for articles in independent civilian publications.Down the memory hole, as they say.

Now it’s time for the OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER:

The views expressed on this website do not necessarily represent the positions held by the United States government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Installation Management Agency, the Fort Knox Garrison, the Fort Knox Public Affairs Office, the Turret, or anyone else other than the author, who is a lower-enlisted soldier and ergo has no access to the Truth.


Cue up some more Toby Keith.