Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Georgia is launching an initiative to protect its military bases in the coming years as the Pentagon cuts its budget and possibly closes some bases.

The Governor's Defense Initiative, announced by Gov. Nathan Deal last month, will try to strengthen its lobbying of defense policymakers in Washington while also working to recruit private industry to military communities.

The initiative will be led by a Washington consultant who's familiar with both Georgia and the Pentagon. Will Ball worked as chief of staff to former Georgia Sen. Herman Talmadge and as Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan.

Ball says Georgia's nine military bases are in a "tremendous period of uncertainty." The so-called fiscal cliff could trigger steep military cuts, and a new round of base closings is likely in 2015.

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