The government is supposed to help create jobs and thriving communities, but what the Army is planning to do is the exact opposite. The Army is telling 40,000 troops and 17,000 civilian employees that “I don’t want you for the U.S. Army.” The cuts are planned for 2016 and 2017.
We don’t have details on where the cuts for civilians are going to be, but for soldiers, Fort Benning in Georgia and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska are taking the biggest hit. Ft. Benning is to lose 3,402 soldiers (29% of its personnel) while Elmendorf-Richardson is to lose 2,631 soldiers (59% of its personnel). Cuts to other installations can be found here.
AFGE condemns these misguided reductions. There is no rationale to such drastic cuts to either the military or to civilians. While some cuts are understandable from the drawdown in forces after fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, no one should pretend that cuts of this magnitude wouldn’t undermine the Army’s ability to face future mission requirements.
The cuts would also be devastating to soldiers and civilians. Unemployment not only affects their finances, physical and mental health but also threatens the entire community as a military installation is often the lifeblood of the community. Destroying tens of thousands of middle class jobs not only throws the lives of workers into chaos, but it creates a domino effect on all of the businesses and service providers who depend on the base and its workers for their own living.
If sequestration is allowed to continue, these irresponsible cuts will only be the beginning. According to the Army’s Vision 2020 plan, sequestration would result in cutting another 30,000 soldiers and an even higher percentage of civilian employees.