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Army Listens To Citizen Concerns Of Potential Job Losses At Ft. Sam Houston

High-ranking members of the Army's administation listen to citzens at the Freeman Expo Hall

Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Could see as many as 6,000 jobs cut as the Army considers eliminating a quarter of its total workforce. Five high-ranking Army officials from Washington, D.C. were in the Alamo City on Tuesday to hear concerns.

Over 1,000 military family members and community leaders packed the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall to hear details of how federal budget sequestration is expected to force cuts in military jobs.

Under sequestration the Army is facing about $95 billion in budget cuts over the next 10years. The Deputy Director, Department of the Army, Force Management, John McLaren, said more than 90,000 enlisted and civilian personnel across the country could lose their jobs in the next five years. While San Antonio, with a large military medical presence, would probably not be among the hardest hit, it would almost certainly be affected.

“That does not leave a lot of room for any installation to escape unscathed in that type of reduction,” said McLaren.

Installations under the umbrella of Joint Base San Antonio, including Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis could lose thousands of jobs — up to 4,000 soldiers and 2,000 civilians at Fort Sam.

Lt. General Perry Wiggins, the Commander of Army North in San Antonio, said that national security could potentially be affected if Army staffing dropped to 420,000; down from an all time high of more than 500,000. “If we fall below that, than there is an extremely high risk, and the Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of the Army, is going to have to figure how we continue to prosecute the mission that the American people expects us to do.”

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce estimates that in the worst-case scenario, San Antonio’s economy could take a $382 million hit.

At City Hall Tuesday, Mayor Ivy Taylor announced the creation of a Military Workforce Advisory Committee that will try to preserve the area’s military jobs and prepare for what happens. The Pentagon’s decision on where and what to eliminate could come in the next few months.  The Army is conducting these listening tours in 30 communities, with installations that will likely be affected.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules