Opinions and Speeches

Thursday, June 30, 2005 -

Let BRAC commission hear you

Thursday, June 30, 2005

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
2005 BRAC Commission Regional Hearing
Remarks as Delivered

Welcome to Georgia. Georgia has a rich and storied history of supporting the Armed Forces in the United States of America. Today thousands of Georgians based here are deployed around the world on Global War on Terror and in defense of freedom and pursuit of democracy.

I appreciate the importance of Base Realignment Commission and I am pleased to have this opportunity to address your recommendations for Georgia.

We are very grateful for the enhancements recommended at Kings Bay, Fort Benning, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Moody Air Base, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, and Robins Air Force Base. It is my hope the Commission will reevaluate its recommendation of Fort Mac, Fort Gillem, Naval Air Station in Atlanta and the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens.

Georgia's strong support for the military has always begun very close to home, right in the very communities where our bases are located. Organizations such as the 21st Century Partnership at Robins, the Central Savannah River Area, Alliance at Fort Gordon, Camden Partnership at Kings Bay and the Southwest Georgia Alliance For Progress in Albany are all excellent examples that you have seen in your evaluation of support by communities for men and women in our Armed Forces and the investment of those bases.

I have seen the same community support in greater Atlanta, Fort Gillem, Fort Mac and Naval Air Station in Atlanta and for the Athens -- the Naval Supply School in Athens.

The Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Cobb County Commission has always played a key role in NAS Atlanta. The Chamber's Honorary Commanders program brings business leaders together to support the Navy's mission at NAS Atlanta. The County Commission's protection of the Dobbins' perimeter and its support of infrastructure has made it the best urban air facility in the United States of America.

The leadership of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has long records of supporting Fort Gillem and Fort Mac, as have the cities of Forest Park and East Point. And the City of Atlanta -- whose mayor is Shirley Franklin is here today in support of this effort -- offers both these bases a transportation system that cannot be matched anywhere in the United States of America.

On any given day Hartsfield-Jackson Airport cannot be matched. It can place the leaders of the United States Army anywhere in the United States by noon and almost anywhere in the world by evening. No location in America can match that. To quote the MasterCard commercial on television, that in terms of cost to the United States of America is priceless.

There's probably no facility in Georgia that enjoys more community support than Naval Air -- Naval Supply School in Athens, the Clarke County Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce at the University of Georgia provides enormous support including free fire and police protection to the base and an enriched quality of life for the Navy personnel and their families.

As you evaluate overall costs to the United States and overall value in terms of support, remember the following: The community surrounding all our military bases have done an outstanding job. They are dedicated to their base and the protection and enhancement of the family. There is absolutely no doubt that the loyalty and hard work of all of these community groups has contributed immeasurably to the success of our military in Georgia.

I have no doubt this will become clear to you today as we make the case for the value of the Georgia bases. I thank you for your visit and your services. This concludes our first panel.

Now our second panel will provide presentations regarding the Pentagon's recommendations for base closures in Georgia. After that, our third panel will provide presentations on the Pentagon's recommendations for additional missions personnel at Georgia's bases. Gentlemen, we thank you for your attention.