Colorado’s Ft. Carson to add 7,000 troops |

Colorado’s Ft. Carson to add 7,000 troops

FORT CARSON, Col0rado ” The Army will put two newly formed brigade combat teams at Fort Carson, bringing about 7,000 more soldiers to the post under a plan being released on Wednesday.

The Army is adding four other brigade combat teams, two each at Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Stewart, Ga., plus eight support units at other posts.

The additions are part of a plan to expand the active-duty Army by about 65,000 soldiers.

Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation praised the decision. They said earlier Wednesday they were told about one of the new brigades and said it was expected by 2011.

“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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