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Brigades to stay put at least a year
Training to expand operation capabilities
Col. Kevin Milton sits down after speaking and receiving a certificate from Hinesville Rotary Club President Deidre Howell. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
“Right now it’s looking like our units will be here for another two years,” Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton told the Hinesville Rotary Club on Tuesday.
Milton said the 3rd Infantry Division should stay put at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield until 2012, unless another troop surge is ordered.  
“Since Sept. 11 we’ve been at this fight in either Iraq or Afghanistan,” the colonel said.
What is unique about this current redeployment, he said, is that once brigades reintegrate and return to normal work hours this coming January, troops will begin training for full spectrum operations. Training for full spectrum warfare is something the division has not done for nine years, Milton said.
The colonel explained each brigade will “wind up with a different contingency mission” and could be aligned with Pacific Command or Africa Command. This means soldiers would train here and could also deploy to different theaters, such as South Korea or Africa for month-long training exercises, he said.

The garrison commander also spoke about the installation’s continued belt-tightening for fiscal year 2011. “Between fiscal year 2007 and 2011, the (post) budget has ranged from $238 million to $265 million,” reported the Frontline newspaper last week.
To reduce its operational budget the installation cut overtime by 30 percent and credit card purchases by 50 percent this past year, Milton said.
“We took a $90 million reduction in our budget last year,” he said. “(This year) we’re no longer looking at cuts, we’re looking for efficiency. We won’t see dwindling services we’ll see more efficient services.”
The colonel also said military police may share the responsibility of patrolling state highways 119 and 144 with local law enforcement entities in the near future. This means local sheriff deputies and police officers as well as MPs could pull people over for traffic violations and issue tickets, Milton explained.
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a retrocession of legislative jurisdiction last month, he said.  Local law enforcement agencies and military police must first negotiate funding issues and sign memorandums of understanding before the retrocession can be implemented, the garrison commander said.
Milton cautioned Rotary members to expect increased traffic once all the troops return and the 4th Heavy Brigade Combat Team moves into its new headquarters off Highway 144. The 4th Brigade will redeploy next July.
Milton said a proposed bypass road connecting Georgia 144 to 119 could help alleviate traffic congestion in that area and he remains hopeful it will be built if funding can be found. This would be a long-term solution, the colonel said.

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