Defense budget increase could have major impact on Fort Gordon

By Mike Miller

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AUGUSTA (WJBF), March 9, 2017 | comments

AUGUSTA (WJBF)  — President Donald Trump is hoping to increase defense spending by $54 billion next year.

If Congress approves his proposed budget, Fort Gordon would see a dramatic impact from the nearly 10% hike.

Fort Gordon is already booming, in fact, the post has grown 20% since 2012.

As other military bases around the country are dwindling in size, Fort Gordon is expected to grow by 3% every year.

With talk of $54 billion extra in funding for the Department of Defense, there is a lot of buzz about how Fort Gordon would be affected.

“That will be a major impact to Fort Gordon and really when you talk about cyber warfare and cyber security, this is a growth industry for generations to come, so that will have a lasting impact on our city and our community as a whole,” former mayor Deke Copenhaver said.

Fort Gordon currently has an economic impact of $2.1 billion on the local economy.

Right now, more than 24,000 people work on the base and more than 13,000 people are expected to move to the area because of the cyber-related missions at Fort Gordon.

“Cyber-security is the new frontier in warfare. The good new is our folks are doing a great job, we are just trying to get our soldiers what they need to fight this battle,” Congressman Rick Allen said.

Allen recently voted in favor of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which provides more funding this year for cyber defense programs and a 2.1% pay raise for the troops.

It’s something the White House is in favor of, in addition to the $54 billion the president wants to add to the military budget next year.

“I think it’s why Donald Trump won in November. Because it was no secret that our military was suffering,” Allen said.

The congressman says as war moves from the battlefield to cyberspace, any additional funding for the military will only continue to secure Fort Gordon as the place to train and recruit the cyber workforce, which in turn means the CSRA will continue to grow at a fast pace.

“We’re seeing more traffic now. We’re seeing more people moving to the area. When you talk about the population expanding by several thousand people, they are going to have to live someplace, but the benefit to local restaurants, to people needing to use our local services… it’s going to be across the board and bigger than most people think,” Copenhaver tells NewsChannel 6.

Trump’s 2018 budget proposal calls for cuts in domestic spending to allow for the additional $54 billion in funding for the Department of Defense.

The additional funding for this year had overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, but the bill still needs to pass the Senate.

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