Fort Carson Listening Session (1600-1800, 3 Feb, Centennial Hall, Colorado Springs). This session is being organized as part of the official Army force reduction process. They are sending out teams to each location that is under consideration for troop reductions. Andy Napoli, the assistant for BRAC (Army), is only personally visiting 2-3 locations this year. He has extensive (negative) experience with Colorado from prior years’ Pinon Canyon expansion fights as he has been at the Pentagon since 2006. He previously worked on Capitol Hill and for the 2005 BRAC commission.
Through the Defense Mission Task Force, we have been planning for this session for several weeks. We have learned that the desire out of Army HQ’s is they see a strong demonstration of support from the state of Colorado, not just the Pikes Peak region. They recognize that our local community has traditionally been a strong supporter of Fort Carson, but question the support of the rest of the state. Additionally, it has been suggested that we should focus on the added value to the Army of being located here through areas such as unique training benefits and ways that the community and state addresses issues to the benefit, including without the expenditure of DOD money, of the Army.
Therefore we are planning on having a variety of speakers lined up to address those areas. Invited speakers include the Governor and Adjutant General, members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation, state legislators, mayors from Colorado Springs, Monument, Fountain, Woodland Park, Trinidad, and representatives from higher education, local school districts, and many more. Beyond speakers, it is our intention to highlight the broad variety of groups represented at the meeting so that the Army officials will see a truly united community and state in attendance.
The room at Centennial Hall seats 299 people, so it will be critical that we also insure the room is filled with people who strongly support the Army presence here in Colorado. These sessions in other locations have had hundreds of people in attendance and high level elected official participation, so a strong showing is necessary.
I urge your attendance. The DMTF is developing talking points which I will distribute to all of you upon receipt.