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Army Seeks Input Ahead Of Major Cuts In Force

The barracks in the controlled monitoring area at JBLM are usually used for housing summer ROTC programs.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott
The barracks in the controlled monitoring area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Up to a quarter of the soldiers and civilians there face losing their jobs.

As the Army reduces its force, officials are holding listening sessions around the country to get feedback, including one in Lakewood, Washington, on Wednesday.

The Pentagon is in the process of reducing the active-duty force since the draw down in the Middle East.

The cuts as proposed would eliminate up to 90,000 positions across the force. For Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle, that could mean up to 11,000 soldiers and civilians out of work. The base has more than 27,000 active duty soldiers and 13,000 civilians. That's about a quarter of the jobs connected with the base.

Cuts to Army and civilian personnel would reverberate outside the base. The rental market, restaurants and other businesses would all feel the impact.

On its website, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce is urging local businesses to attend the listening session and show support for the base.

Rep. Denny Heck, whose Congressional district includes the base, understands the inevitability of the cuts, but has been critical of the Army’s approach.