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Just a few years ago, our community faced a threat that the Fort Hamilton Military Installation would be closed. If that had happened, what would have been the effect on the community? Most importantly, what would have been the effect on our nation's battle against terrorism—especially as it impacts the security of our very own city?

Fortunately, Fort Hamilton was not closed, as the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee (FHCAC) was formed and went to work. joined by others—some in government, others not—the FHCAC mobilized the community in many ways. It instituted mailings to key individuals of influence, held rallies, prepared a major document for the U.S. Defense Department that thoroughly made the case for keeping Fort Hamilton open, and worked closely with the Congress Member representing the community, along with all other supportive elected officials in both New York City and New York State.

But the fact is that new threats to the Fort's existence emerge periodically. The latest is the effort to move the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from its present Fort Hamilton base to another location. Were that to occur, Fort Hamilton's chances to remain open would be diminished when the next federal base-closing commission—expected to be established in the next couple of years—begins to target various military installations across the country for possible closure. This is the type of challenge that the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee was created to confront and, working with the community and various public officials, hopefully resolve.

Times have changed, and so have our nation's military requirements. Today, much has to do with surveillance, information­gathering, the detection of potential attacks by terrorists—and the readiness to effectively respond to any that do occur. Fort Hamilton is a very different installation than it was years ago; it has become a key player in all of the areas just mentioned, and New Yorkers, of all people, hardly need to be told how important they are.

Served from the beginning exclusively by volunteers—citizens who care deeply about the community and who want nothing more than to see it thrive—the FHCAC is today no less vigorously on the job than it was on the day it was first assembled. Vigilance is one of its key watchwords. Preparedness is another. Part of that preparedness can be seen in the sponsorship of the Army Community Covenant program that rededicated the community and Fort Hamilton to a partnership. Twenty partners from Fort Hamilton and the surrounding communities signed the covenant to signal the solidarity of partnership that has been the basis of the union for generations. Ultimately, the support that the FHCAC and the surrounding communities provide to Fort Hamilton's military community contributes to the success of our local and national defense.

Be assured that the FHCAC is determined to maintain its on-the-job status, ready for any threat...and ready to hit the ground running whenever one arises.

Finally, what area residents and other interested citizens should know is that the FHCAC­underscoring its citizen/volunteer nature—has been incorporated as a not-for-profit group that operates independently in pursuit of its very specifically declared purpose: To demonstrate ongoing support of Fort Hamilton (and, by extension, of the surrounding communities), so as to be an effective, fully functioning committee when the next threat to the Fort is posed.