Military Cuts Could Mean Thousands Leaving Ft. Jackson

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - With the Department of Defense scaling back the size of the military, there could soon be a significant change at Fort Jackson.

United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the army size to about 450,000 soldiers.

Officers at Ft. Jackson say the worst case scenario would be that more than 2,500 soldiers leaving the base and close to 400 civilian employees losing their job.

Fort Jackson trains more than 60,000 soldiers annually and more than half of all soldiers go through basic combat training at the base.

Representatives from all military bases in the state talked about potential changes, the biggest impact could potentially be at Ft. Jackson; which is the country's largest training installation.

Retired Major General George Goldsmith who is a committee member says the worst case scenario for the 2016 fiscal year is that the base could lose 3,1000 soldiers and civilian employees.

He says if the army downsizes to less than 450,000 soldiers the base would definitely be impacted.

There are four initial training bases in our country including Ft. Jackson; Goldsmith says the base is working to become the primary training base so that if any cuts happen the base would not be affected.

"What we are trying to do is make Ft. Jackson the center of excellence for initial entry training so if decisions are made to cut the battalion or cut trainees that they would come at maybe the other locations, rather than at Ft. Jackson," said Goldsmith.

The base is one of 30 being evaluated for reduction.

The Civilians would be the ones that would hurt us the most, but again, that's the worst case scenario and you have to plan for that and what we don't want to do is to alarm people that Ft. Jackson is going to lose 3,100 people if they do re-employment sequestration but that is a possibility."

Goldsmith says if a major cut is made the soldiers that would be affected would still keep their job, they would just train or work at another base.


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