FT. HUACHUCA, ARIZ. – The threat of sequestration and further federal budget cuts has employees at Fort Huachuca and Army bases across the country bracing for the worst, as a new video from the American Federation of Government Employees illustrates.
Fort Huachuca, located near the U.S.-Mexico border in Sierra Vista, Ariz., already has lost 1,100 civilian positions during the past 18 months due to budget cuts, says Katie Rasdall, president of AFGE Local 1662.
In response to sequestration and ongoing budget cuts, the Army plans to cut civilian staff at Fort Huachuca and more than two dozen other bases by another 30% between now and 2020.
“If sequestration continues and we start to plan for the 2020 budget cuts, there won’t be anything left here,” Rasdall said.
Mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, sequestration would force the Department of Defense and other federal agencies to make more than a trillion dollars in automatic spending cuts to programs and services over 10 years. DoD leaders have warned that sequestration will erode the nation’s defense capabilities and put the nation at risk.
AFGE supports the bipartisan budget deal announced Monday that would suspend sequestration for the next two years and provide much-needed increases in military and domestic spending.
Fort Huachuca already is seeing the effects of the federal budget cuts on area businesses and service providers who depend on the base and its workers for their own living. Job cuts at the base have taken their toll on the housing and real estate markets in Sierra Vista, residents say.
Long-time residents like Fran Kosinski, a military retiree and current member of AFGE Local 1662, say families won’t be able to make ends meet if the cuts continue.
“We’re going to become a welfare city, basically,” Kosinski says.
For more information, visit www.afge.org/DefendOurJobs.