FT. BENNING, GA (WXTX) - The past five years have marked a period of expansive growth at Fort Benning, but across the country, military installations are now being forced to make some heavy cuts by the Army.
Even with the addition of the armor school and thousands of new soldiers, civilian jobs at Ft. Benning may not be saved.
The U.S. Army wants to cut 15 percent of the civilian workforce.
At Fort Benning, Deputy Garrison Commander George Steuber says there are some 5,000 civilian workers. "So, 15% of that is about 750 people. I do not believe that is going to be the case at all here. And, so I don't want people to take that number and say the sky is falling. I can virtually guarantee you that will not happen here."
Steuber says numbers are not final, but his best guess would be that probably less than half, if not a third of that 750 will actually be cut at Ft. Benning.
He says there are several options to consider, like offering early retirement packages, not filling open positions, and restructuring.
"It's something we have been working on for years. When I got here 2 years ago, we were supposed to be bringing on 539 Department of the Army civilians and 1355 contract equivalents just for the Garrison. We have hired virtually no body or brought on contractors," Steuber added.
The Army-wide hiring freeze will mean fewer layoffs and more unfilled positions.
Steuber said he began in the Army in 1966 when the U.S. was in the middle of the Vietnam War.
He believes when these cuts make their way to Ft. Benning, soldiers may pick up a bit of the slack.
Steuber explained, "When I came in, I pulled KP, and I pulled server in the dining facilities. I pulled guard duty around the motor pools. Soldiers today do not do that in our initial military training. It did not hurt me. We will probably go back to that as a money saver. Quite frankly, I think our soldiers will be better for it."