A look back at the good and bad in 2014
As The Signal bids farewell to 2013 in this, our final edition of the year, it seems appropriate to look back at the news of the past year and what it has meant for our installation and our community. A quick scan of the headlines over the past 12 months tells a story that begins with a familiar refrain:
“Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news…”
First, the bad news. 2013 had barely begun when, in January, we started telling you about the potential effects of sequestration and budget uncertainty. So began the “Year of the Fiscal Cliff.”
Stories about hiring freezes, budget reductions and dire predictions for programs and services began to dominate our pages. It all got very real in March, and predictions gave way to reality. Tuition Assistance cuts, Commissary staff shortages, and planning for civilian furloughs filled our pages in the spring, culminating in a May 17 announcement of layoffs beginning in July. And, with a reduced workforce on board at our gates and elsewhere, the traffic jam that’s become known as “Black Monday” snarled commuters on July 8.
Almost as soon as the furlough ended, our attention turned to Oct. 1 and the approaching government shutdown. Although action in Washington restored the pay of employees who were furloughed at the beginning of the fiscal year, interruptions to services and programs were felt across the installation.
The “Year of the Fiscal Cliff” will be remembered by many as a difficult, anxious time, in which our missions – and the people who perform them – were under constant financial threat. But perhaps it should be remembered best as the year in which our community overcame adversity and succeeded despite impossible conditions. There was, after all, plenty of good news.
Fort Gordon recognized its best service members and civilians for the previous year in the annual awards ceremony held in January. Installation officials cut the ceremonial ribbon on new facilities such as Subway and the Religious Education Center. Our extremely creative and successful Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs not only continued to host our community celebrations like Spring Fest and Oktoberfest while the budget crunch was in full force; they actually turned a profit.
“Cyber” became more than just a buzzword on the installation. Recruiting for cyber protection teams launched into high gear. Fort Gordon became home to the Army’s second cyberspace operations unit, the 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion. The first cyber network defender course for MOS 25D graduated the Army’s newest crop of advanced cyber warriors.
Among the good news of 2013, perhaps no event was more telling than the outpouring of support that flowed from local leaders during Department of the Army’s Community Listening Session on Fort Gordon in April. One by one, elected officials and agency heads directly told the Pentagon what we at Fort Gordon already knew – how closely intertwined we are with our CSRA communities, and how well-loved our service members and their families are by our civilian neighbors.
2013 wasn’t all good, and the anxiety level stayed pretty high around post for the duration. But anyone who thinks it was a bad year for Fort Gordon wasn’t paying attention. It was a productive year, made possible by people who worked through the challenges to get the job done. Our people made 2013 a success for Fort Gordon and our employers, the American people. We have no doubt they’ll do the same in 2014.
From the staff of the Signal and the Public Affairs Office, we wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season. We’ll see you next year.