It’s hard to believe that a little less than three months ago, we were celebrating the news Fort Knox was selected as the location for the Army’s new corps headquarters. The coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on our region, our nation and the world, including our military and Fort Knox.
As CEO of the Knox Regional Development Alliance, I am in regular contact with Fort Knox leaders and Department of Defense officials and I want to update the community on the latest developments.
• Fifth Corps is coming.
The DOD has extended its Stop Move order through June 30, which means these new families won’t begin arriving until later this summer. It may take longer before the unit is fully staffed, but that does not change the October activation. Fort Knox will become one of only four installations in the Army with a Corps Headquarters, putting our post in an elite class.
• Access to Fort Knox is unrestricted, but wear a mask.
There are currently no limitations regarding access to post, but you are required to wear a mask at most establishments. Free face masks/coverings are not available at Fort Knox, so plan accordingly. There always is the possibility of increasing health protection conditions that would limit access to authorized personnel only — which includes workforce, Fort Knox residents, persons with permitted services such as retirees.
With the current progress in Kentucky and the community around Fort Knox, I feel confident access will remain unrestricted.
• The status of Cadet Summer Training 2020 is unknown.
Each summer Fort Knox hosts the Army’s largest training exercise – Cadet Summer Training – for thousands of Army ROTC cadets from colleges and universities all over the country. Hundreds of additional officers and non-commissioned officers make up the cadre of instructors.
Unfortunately, with the DOD Stop Move order extended until June 30, we know that if cadet summer training happens, it will be greatly abbreviated. Cadet Command is continuing to work with Army leadership on various courses of action, but whatever the outcome, it is almost assured the region will not experience the typical increased visits to local restaurants or the added hotel stays CST often brings.
I know that is incredibly unwelcome news given the economic toll coronavirus restrictions have taken, but we think it is important to be up front and realistic about the outlook. The leadership at Fort Knox is sensitive to and concerned about the potential impact.
• Fort Knox is critical to our nation’s defense and our regional economy.
For more than a century, Fort Knox has played a critical role in our nation’s defense and that continues today. With missions like Army Human Resources Command, Army Cadet Command and Army Recruiting Command, what happens at Fort Knox impacts every soldier and their family. The 1st Theater Sustainment Command, 1st Army Division East, and 19th Engineer Battalion along with Army Reserve and National Guard units further Fort Knox’s strategic importance. The addition of Fifth Corps makes a great installation even better.
Fifth Corps also makes our economy stronger with an estimated $50 million in new payroll, along with additional defense contractor spending adding to the post’s annual $2.6 billion economic impact.
While I know that doesn’t improve the current circumstances faced by businesses, I hope it can provide some reassurance that as the economy reopens, Fort Knox’s growth will bring added spending power in these tough economic times.
• This community is the very best.
There is no doubt we are facing unprecedented times, but like always, there are countless examples of your caring, collaborative and supportive spirit. It is what sets our region apart from other defense communities.
Your continued support to Fort Knox, its soldiers and their families remains unwavering. I can’t thank you enough and express how proud Beth Avey, KRDA’s first vice president, and I are to represent you in our work to strengthen Fort Knox and grow defense-related business in our region. If we can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.