Proposed Army budget cuts may impact Ft. Bliss

Soldiers at Ft. Bliss may be impacted by Army cuts

EL PASO, Texas - The US Army is preparing to downsize and cut its budget.

As the nation plans to end its combat role in Afghanistan this year, the number of boots on the ground is expected to decrease.

Fort Bliss Post Public Affairs Officer, LTC Lee Peters, says 6 billion dollars were recently invested in improvements to Ft. Bliss.

Now, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is proposing to significantly reshape America's land forces. Some say the army could become as small as it was in 1940, before America entered World War II.

More than half a million US Army troops are now across the globe, working to defend the United States of America. Thirty thousand of those soldiers currently call Ft. Bliss home.

Staff Sergeant Amanda Marion has been serving for 11 years. She's experienced budget cuts before, but the ones now proposed by Defense Secretary Hagel are uncharted territory.

"I have seen my share of scaling back and sequestrations. I worried at the time but so far I've been lucky. I'm still in the Army, still doing my job and still supporting my daughter," Marion said.

"We project that Ft. Bliss alone supports 150-200,000 people in the El Paso area," Peters said.  He added they haven't been given orders just yet, so its still premature to say how the cuts might affect Ft. Bliss.

Congress can alter Hagel's 2015 budget proposal.

"We've been expecting following more than 10 years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that we're an Army and nation of transition. In order to better posture ourselves for future conflicts, we're probably gonna have to look at ourselves as we undergo this transition," Peters explained.

Downsizing seems to be a common military cycle after major conflicts, according to Peters.

Under the Hagel plan, the Army could shrink to about 440-450,000 soldiers.

"It could impact the soldiers itself, it could impact their families, it could impact resources available to the soldier and their family," Marion said.

Peters said natural attrition would be the principal way to reduce force size. That involves simply not replacing soldiers already planning to retire or complete their service.

Until the budget receives congressional approval, it's really a waiting game.
Peters said he is aware of each of the Army's divisions losing a 3/1 BCT (brigade combat team), but that news came out last spring.

comments powered by Disqus