POLITICS: New Fort Jackson commander assesses how cuts could affect training base

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on December 19, 2013 

Soldiers at Fort Jackson wait their turn to board buses bound for home for the holidays. More than 7,000 troops departed Fort Jackson late Wednesday night.

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com Buy Photo

— The number of families visiting Columbia's Fort Jackson each week could change in coming years.

The Army is facing $600 billion in budget cuts. In response to that and the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of troops in the service is expected to be reduced to 490,000 from 560,000.

Should the fort cut back on training new recruits, that could affect not only staffing at the facility but also the nearly $2 billion per year economic impact of the base in the community.

New fort commander Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker said he doesn’t expect the present troop drawdown to reduce the number of soldiers trained at the base over the next two years. He predicted that despite a reduction, Fort Jackson will continue to churn out about 63,000 soldiers a year over next two years.

But, he said, if the Army is reduced 450,000 or less, “that could impact us.”

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