The Pentagon announced today that it will locate its new U.S. Army corps headquarters at Fort Knox.
The decision means 635 additional soldiers at the post with responsibilities for supporting U.S. forces and operations in Europe and to help meet the Army’s modernization and readiness needs. In addition to the on-post payroll boost, local officials expect the command to help the regional economy as contractors and other related positions relocate here.
“Fort Knox was chosen based on time required to facilitate activation of the headquarters, cost, the ability to facilitate future expansion if required and minimizing disruption to other, current missions at the installation,” according to the official letter of notification from T.C. Williams, senior liaison for policy and readiness in the Pentagon for the Department of the Army.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who pledged last month to use the influence of his role as Senate majority leader to help bring the corps to Kentucky, noted Fort Knox’s suitability for the tasks in a statement Tuesday.
“Throughout its 100-plus years of distinguished history, Fort Knox has adapted to complete many high-priority missions,” McConnell said. “I’ve delivered substantial federal investment to help build facilities and infrastructure at Fort Knox, ensuring there is no installation better prepared to stand-up this headquarters.”
The location will be activated by October and will be called Fifth Corps or V Corps. It will be commanded by a three-star general.
Fort Knox was one of three finalists for the headquarters, which was announced to local officials by Congressman Brett Guthrie at 5 p.m. just 15 minutes before the Army released its official announcement.
McConnell, Guthrie and Sen. Rand Paul sent a joint letter last week to Army officials describing the merits of Fort Knox. It was the first public acknowledgment of the pending decision.
“Fort Knox and the surrounding communities have the assets and the attitude to host these new soldiers and their families,” said Guthrie, a former Army officer. “Kentucky is a great place to be a soldier.”
Jim Iacocca, who heads the Knox Regional Development Alliance, said he’s been working quietly on the project for months since learning of Army plans to add a fourth corps headquarters operation.