Report suggests Fort Bragg could lose 16,000 jobs

The Associated PressJune 27, 2014 

— Fort Bragg could lose 16,000 military and civilian jobs in the next six years under a new projection of the impact of the shrinking defense budget.

The Fayetteville Observer reports (http://bit.ly/1jrjq8m) that the figure is a worst-case scenario and is contained in a draft report by U.S. Army Environmental Command.

That report looks at the impact of defense cuts at 30 Army bases. It concluded that Fort Bragg is one of nine large Army installations that could lose 16,000 soldiers and civilians under the most extreme cuts.

North Carolina State University economist Michael Walden says if such cuts occurred, it would cause significant damage to the region's economy.

Fort Bragg is still expected to remain the biggest Army base in the nation.

In South Carolina, Fort Jackson commander Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker said in March that the nation’s largest training base should prepare for cuts of up to 3,100 jobs – nearly half of the civilian and military workforce – if mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts go into effect after 2016.

The U.S. Department of Defense asked base commanders to assess the impact to the Midlands community if nearly half of its 7,000 employees were to be cut or moved elsewhere.

It is part of the military’s worst-case planning for across-the-board cuts mandated by Congress as a result of the 2011 debt ceiling fight, called the sequester. If the sequester isn’t repealed by 2016, as many as 3,100 jobs could be lost at the fort as soon as 2019, Becker said at the time.

The Defense Department is asking all installations with more than 5,000 employees to assess the impact of deep and severe cuts . Not all of the installations, however, would sustain the harsh cuts. Fort Jackson would not automatically lose the full 3,100 jobs because of the sequester, Becker said. But military leaders want to gauge how the communities could be affected, he said. Becker is meeting with community leaders to set up a series of public hearings during a 60 day-comment period. Those dates will likely be announced after the Fourth of July holiday, Carl Blackstone, chief executive of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce told The State.

In March, Fort Jackson commander Becker said the nation’s largest training base should prepare for cuts of up to 3,100 jobs – nearly half of the civilian and military workforce – if mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts go into effect after 2016.

The U.S. Department of Defense at the time asked base commanders to assess the impact to the Midlands community if nearly half of its 7,000 employees were to be cut or moved elsewhere.

It is part of the military’s worst-case planning for across-the-board cuts mandated by Congress as a result of the 2011 debt ceiling fight, called the sequester. If the sequester isn’t repealed by 2016, as many as 3,100 jobs could be lost at the fort as soon as 2019, Becker said at the time.

The Defense Department is asking all installations with more than 5,000 employees to assess the impact of deep and severe cuts . Not all of the installations, however, would sustain the harsh cuts . Fort Jackson would not automatically lose the full 3,100 jobs because of the sequester, Becker said. But military leaders want to gauge how the communities could be affected, he said. Becker is meeting with community leaders to set up a series of public hearings during a 60 day-comment period. Those dates will likely be announced after the Fourth of July holiday, Carl Blackstone, chief executive of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce told The State.

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