Hundreds of Fort Bragg troops cut in Army downsizing
Posted July 9, 2015
Fort Bragg, N.C. — A downsizing effort by the Army will eliminate 842 military positions at Fort Bragg and an unspecified number of civilian jobs, George Breece, a member of the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission, said Thursday.
The changes include swapping the 1st Theater Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg with the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command at Fort Knox, Ky.; inactivating the post band, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, the Quartermaster Supply Company and the Civil Affairs Battalion; reducing Division and Corps Headquarters and other units; and activating a Gray Eagle drone company.
Fort Bragg has nearly 65,000 active-duty soldiers and reservists. Following the changes, the 38,800 active troops on post will be down about 3 percent from pre-9/11 levels, officials said.
"Quite frankly, that's good news for our community," Breece said of the roughly 1.5 percent cut.
Nationwide, about 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilian workers will lose their jobs by 2018 as part of the downsizing. The cuts, which have been discussed for two years, come as the military continues to adjust to the end of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and will leave the Army with 450,000 troops overall.
"While the Army does not desire to make reductions, they are necessary to preserve war-fighting capability and avoid a hollow force as the Army reduces end-strength due to continuing fiscal pressures," the Army said in a statement.
After the downsizing, Fort Bragg will account for 8.6 percent of the total Army force.
The Air Force has announced plans to deactivate the 440th Airlift Wing, based at Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg as part of its downsizing. Members of North Carolina's congressional delegation are fighting the proposed move, which would eliminate more than 1,400 jobs.
Still, Breece said other shifts could bring new units to Pope.
"They could bring some airplanes to Pope Air Force Base, and according to Tommy Bolton, the civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, that could mean anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 jobs over the next 18 months, if that happens," he said.
Further federal budget difficulties could bring more sequestration cuts to Fort Bragg by 2019, however.
"We have to work with our members of the Senate and House to get them to not go back to those bad days," Breece said. "We need to see sequestration in the rearview mirror, not the mirror looking forward."