Fort Carson will get nearly 4,900 more troops as Army expands |

Fort Carson will get nearly 4,900 more troops as Army expands

FORT CARSON ” The Army will base a newly formed brigade combat team at Fort Carson, bringing nearly 4,900 more soldiers to the post, officials said Wednesday.

The new unit would bring the total number of active-duty troops at the Colorado Springs post to nearly 30,000, compared with about 14,500 in 2003.

The brigade is one of six the Army is adding nationwide as it expands by about 65,000 soldiers. It is expected at Fort Carson by 2011.

Colorado’s congressional delegation welcomed the news.

“We just have to have more men and women in uniform to do what we want them to do,” Democratic Rep. Mark Udall told The Associated Press.

Republican Sen. Wayne Allard said the expansion would bring about $50 million a year in government funding, plus about $500 million in construction.

“Today’s announcement is nothing short of great news for southern Colorado,” Allard said in a written statement.

Udall said Army Assistant Secretary Keith Eastin assured him the decision to add soldiers to Fort Carson is unrelated to the military’s controversial effort to expand its Pinon Canyon training site in southeastern Colorado, where the post’s soldiers get some of their training.

“He said the addition of the brigade combat team was not predicated on the expansion of Pinon Canyon,” Udall said.

The Army wants to nearly triple site to about 1,000 square miles. It says it needs the room because Fort Carson is growing and because new weapons and tactics require more space.

Some nearby ranch owners oppose the expansion, fearing it would force them to sell their property against their will.

A $516 billion budget bill before Congress includes a one-year moratorium on expanding the training site.

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