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Army to move more soldiers to Stewart
Numbers vary between reports
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Two reports out Wednesday say more troops are headed to Fort Stewart, though the numbers vary.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston said the Georgia Republican has been told 3,900 new troops would be moved here in the next three years. The lawmaker made the announcement this morning.

The Associated Press reported today that upward of 7,000 troops would be moved here in the next three years as part of an Army wide expansion.

Kingston’s staff said the increase is part of the Army's plan to expand its ranks by an estimated 74,000 soldiers, Fort Stewart is preparing to receive a new infantry brigade combat team in 2011 and an influx of 3,900 new soldiers by the year 2013.

On Wednesday, Army officials released details of the Grow the Army initiative, which includes the creation of six infantry brigade combat teams, two heavy brigade combat teams and 10 combat service support battalions over the next three years.

The new ICBTS will be split between Fort Bliss, Fort Carson and Fort Stewart.

The most significant changes for Fort Stewart will be the conversion of a heavy brigade combat team to an IBCT in 2010 and then the addition of the new IBCT and various combat support forces in 2011.

With the changes bringing in nearly 4,000 new troops and their families, the installations population is expected to reach nearly 28,500 people by 2013.

The AP story said the Army moves to expand troops, officials were preparing to go public with a broad plan mapping out where the six new brigade combat teams and eight support units will be based.

Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Carson in Colorado and Fort Stewart in Georgia will be big winners — each getting roughly 7,000 more soldiers and their families. But every Army installation across the country will see more soldiers — anywhere from a few to thousands.

Information about the plan began to trickle out as Army officials spread out across Capitol Hill, talking to the members of Congress who will see growth in their districts.

Gen. Richard Cody, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, was among those spreading the holiday cheer.

Plans are to increase the number of the active duty Army, Army Guard and Army Reserve by 74,000 overall, with the active duty force growing by 65,000 to a total of 547,000. In October, top Army leaders said they planned to move faster to increase the size of the force — adding the full 74,000 soldiers by 2010, two years sooner than originally planned.

Accelerating the increase is aimed to relieve the strain on forces already stretched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Originally the growth was to take place over five years, now it will be done in three.

The increase — which will boost the number of combat brigades from the 2006 level of 42 to 48 — will cost $2.63 billion.

Roughly half of the 65,000 increase has already been achieved.

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