NJ’s Joint Base passed over for new Army HQ

NJ’s Joint Base passed over for new Army HQ


By:  David Levinsky
Burlington County Times

 

The Army announced the activation of the additional headquarters, called the Fifth Corps, on Tuesday and revealed Fort Knox in Kentucky would be the headquarters’ home base

The U.S. Army’s fourth corps headquarters will not be coming to New Jersey.

The Army announced the activation of the additional headquarters, called the Fifth Corps, on Tuesday and revealed Fort Knox in Kentucky would be the headquarters’ home base.

The new headquarters is expected to be operational this fall and will join the Army’s other three corps headquarters: I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, III Corps at Fort Hood in Texas and XVII Corps at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

The Army’s decision was a blow to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which was one of 30 other installations along the east coast the Army considered. The headquarters would have brought an additional 635 active-duty soldiers to the base, as well as a three-star general.

New Jersey’s entire congressional delegation sent a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy that featured the joint base’s merits, particularly its location near major four major airports, facilities, housing and schools.

The letter highlighted that the Fort Dix side of the installation could offer more than 256,000 square feet of available space for the headquarters in two buildings the National Guard agreed to vacate.

Other competing states’ leadership also pushed for the new headquarters mission, including Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s Majority Leader and the Capitol’s most influential GOP lawmaker, and Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

Both senators are considered key allies of President Donald Trump.

“Fort Knox has proven itself as a leader in our nation’s armed forces time and again, and I’m delighted to announce Secretary McCarthy and General McConville answered my call to station V Corps headquarters in Kentucky,” McConnell said in a statement announcing the base’s selection. “As the Army continues modernizing its force structure to counter evolving global threats, Fort Knox is best choice to meet our urgent national defense needs. With its unmatched level of community support, Fort Knox will offer V Corps a warm welcome.”

The Kentucky installation, which is next to the famed United States Bullion Depository, was selected over the Joint Base and other notable East Coast installations, including Fort Drum in New York and Fort Benning in Georgia.

In a letter to the Army’s secretary, McConnell, Paul and Rep. Brett Guthrie argued that Fort Knox’s existing facilities could accommodate the headquarters without additional construction and that Kentucky is “one of the most military-friendly states in America” due to its numerous benefits for service members and their families.

Members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation promised to continue advocating for Joint Base and state’s other military installations.

“Our effort to try to bring the Fourth Corps HQ to the Joint Base is an example of the incredible bipartisan support the Joint Base, and the tens of thousands who serve there, have in our community,” Congressman Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, said Wednesday. “Our fight to bring more missions to the Joint Base isn’t over. We’re going to keep working to support the Joint Base and make sure it’s a point of pride and economic driver in New Jersey for decades to come.”

Sen. Robert Menedez, New Jersey’s senior senator and the Democrats’ ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, also said he would seek more information about the Army’s selection process.

“I’m disappointed in the Army’s rushed decision to select Ft. Knox. Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is well-equipped, ready and arguably better strategically placed on the East Coast to stage troops headed for deployment in Europe. JBMDL is the nation’s premiere tri-service base with missions critical to the national defense and security,” Menendez said. “I want to know more about the Army’s selection process and will be calling for full transparency as I seek answers from commanders.”