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Joint Base San Antonio Prepping For Federal Budget Cuts

Eileen Pace

As the White House warns of impending damages due to sequestration, local military spending may offer clues about what to expect from Congress. San Antonio’s military presence is not expected to decrease significantly, even though budget cuts are likely.

At a quarterly meeting of the Military Transformation Task Force, the deputy commander of Joint Base San Antonio told the group that sequestration is not the problem here.

"We have been directed to implement actions that get after the problem that we may be operating without an approved budget for all of fiscal year '13," said Col. Jim Chevallier.

Chevallier said that in that case, JBSA would operate under the 2012 numbers, meaning a gap in the amount of money needed, likely for the whole year. He said the budgetary actions being taken at JBSA are intended to be reversible.

"For example, one of the options to reduce spending this year was to release what are called 'temporary employees.' But that is reversible," he said.

Chevallier said that if the military gets the budgetary resources it needs, JBSA could hire those people back, provided their jobs are not cut.

"Partly because of BRAC and for a lot of other factors, we talk about Joint Base San Antonio having a national strategic capability," he said. 

Chevallier said San Antonio has become the center of the universe for DOD health care, it maintains significant expertise in cyber warfare, and trains every airman that enters the Air Force and every combat medic in every branch of the service.

He says even as DOD contracts over the coming years, the JBSA effect  will be minor.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.