Spending cuts for military could be in the future - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Spending cuts for military could be in the future

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COLUMBUS, GA -

$979 billion dollars: that is how much lawmakers say the Department of Defense could see in cuts over the next decade.

On Monday, three Georgia lawmakers, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, and Congressman Sanford Bishop, sat down with a crowd at the National Infantry Museum to talk about what could happen if billions of dollars were cut from military spending because of sequestration.

"We know that the Army is planning on downsizing its force structure currently by about 80,000 soldiers," said Chambliss. "If sequestration kicks in, the Army could have to downsize as much as 100,000 additional soldiers."

Because of the Budget Control Act, the military is already facing $487 billion over the next 10 years in cuts. However last fall, because a super-committee failed to reduce deficits by about a trillion dollars, the Department of Defense is facing another $492 billion in cuts over the next decade.

Senator Isakson says those extra cuts could hurt local jobs.

"So much of the military is supported by private contractors, food service, landscape service, janitorial service, high tech service, a lot of things like that," Isakson said. "As the cutbacks come, they will first come on the private contractors not the military itself."

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been trying to find a way to avoid the cuts, which also includes reduced spending to other federal agencies, but a deal has not been made yet.

"In order to make our system work and to work for the American people, we've got to find ways to solve this fiscal crisis without devastating our military, without devastating our communities," said Sanford.

If lawmakers do not find a solution by the end of this year, the cuts will go into effect starting in January.

Officials say they are not sure yet how the cuts will effect Fort Benning, but they do know the majority of the cuts will be on the Army and Marine Corps.

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