Friday, May 9, 2014

Protect our protectors, group says

Posted By on Fri, May 9, 2014 at 4:24 PM

click to enlarge The Mountain Post could come under budgetary fire.
  • The Mountain Post could come under budgetary fire.
The military protects the nation, without a doubt.

But now, more than half the nation's states are actively working to protect the military. (More accurately put, the goal is to protect the military's economic impact on those states.)

In Oklahoma, a Strategic Military Planning Commission has been set up and given $920,000 to make sure that military cuts don't come calling in that state.

In Utah, a similar organization called the Utah Defense Alliance has a $500,000 annual budget to do much the same thing.

New York allocated $1.5 million for its state-wide effort to run interference against military cuts.

At least 20 states have hired outside representation to try to head off cuts, and 15 more have allocated funds for such efforts.

But Colorado lags behind all that. "Currently, there is no one who is focused full time on developing and organizing Colorado efforts," says a report that will be presented to City Council on Monday.

The report notes that the military is the second largest employer in Colorado, that El Paso and Teller counties' defense presence contribute $11 billion, or 45 percent of the local economy, and that a Base Realignment and Closure round is expected in 2017 and perhaps another in 2019.

That report will come from the Colorado National Defense Support Council, a group of 24 people who want to, according to its mission statement:

protect, preserve, and expand Colorado military installations, organizations, and associated industry/businesses by informing the state of Colorado, and Colorado and US Government officials on the value of the military in Colorado; to both Colorado and the Nation; in support of service members, veterans, and their families; and to create favorable conditions for the Colorado military and civilian communities at large.
To do that will take money, and this group wants Council to pony up $100,000 to help fund a $266,000 budget that would hire two people, with one in Washington, D.C., to coordinate efforts to protect the military.

Here's the presentation to be given on Monday:

It notes the following cuts could lie ahead, including a brand new Combat Aviation Brigade that just arrived at Fort Carson:
-Army is considering force structure cuts as low as 420K; others suggesting 380K
-This will mean the closing of division headquarters and the associated force structure
-4ID at Fort Carson, CO (FCCO) is in jeopardy if this happens
-In comments from the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for BRAC, he stated that Fort Carson is safe at the current 490,000 troop level, at 450,000 it is reasonably secure, but at or below 420,000 the Combat Aviation Brigade could be in real danger and we could lose the division flag.
-USA, USAF & USN looking at Active vs Reserve Component levels/roles
-Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) will shape thinking on force structure levels

Most of the Support Council's members are from Colorado Springs, including Mayor Steve Bach, former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg, Matt Carpenter and Bill Hybl of El Pomar Foundation, Regional Business Alliance official Andy Merritt, contractor Chuck Murphy, and developer Doug Quimby.

Those outside of Colorado Springs include Gov. John Hickenlooper, Aurora Chamber president Kevin Hougen, La Plata County Commissioner Kellie Hotter, Puebloan Marvin Stein, and Denver Chamber executive Tom Clark.

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