More Civilian Jobs Could be Cut at Fort Hood - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

More Civilian Jobs Could be Cut at Fort Hood

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(KCEN) – As budget cuts continue to loom over the Defense Department and fewer soldiers are being deployed with the drawdown, the Army has requested to cut about 500 civilian jobs by the end of the year. Of those, 160 workers would be from Fort Hood.

Bill Parry with the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance says congress has 45 days to take action on the reduction request, and if they approve – which he believes they will – those Department of Army civilian workers cut would leave by January 15th with soldiers taking their place.

The positions at risk of getting cut are mainly security positions like civilian guards or police officers.

 “The Army is now directing five installations in this particular round to eliminate those temporary, short term, and over hire positions and have soldiers go back to doing them,” Parry said. “The Army simply can't afford to have civilians doing those functions when they're paying military personnel who can do those.”

Herve Abrams, retired Army, has been working as a security guard on Fort Hood for three years and feels confident he'll be one of the many let go. “It's stressful, how could it not be. It's financial stress of finding out where the money is going to come from. We have some folks working out in those positions where it's their primary source of income,” he said.

While Parry says Fort Hood is looking closely at the positions that will be eliminated, and thoroughly looking at what the most efficient and effective move would be, he says there are concerns when you begin to replace large amounts of civilian workers with soldiers.

“The problem starts when soldiers we pay to be ready to fight tonight, to deploy tomorrow if required have not been doing the individual skill training and collective unity skills that makes them the most ready to deploy. That's probably my greatest concern,” Parry said.

“That to me is a bigger problem, because when it comes time to go to combat they're not going to be as prepared as they should be,” Abrams added.

Parry says the job cuts would save $11 million a year, and would pay off the separation incentives given to those let go within two years. If approved by congress he says the workers could start getting notices as early as September 8th.

Texas Workforce Solutions says they will partner with Fort Hood if the cuts begin. They have a National Emergency Grant to specifically help veterans, active military and Fort Hood civilian workers forced to leave due to the budget cuts and draw down. That grant will provide additional resources, pay for training and job placement for those individuals. Those interested in the additional help can email: Kara0910@workforcelink.com

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