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Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 6:28pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — The Army is facing some rather difficult decisions. Not only is sequestration forcing some big cuts at places like Fort Bliss, the Army also stands to lose thousands of soldiers over the next four years. It all stems from a restructuring plan that was outlined back in 2011.
70,000 soldiers will be losing their military jobs come 2017 which will effect Fort Bliss and ultimately El Paso. However what the nation stands to lose, Fort Bliss is hoping to gain. If other military installations close, they may be able to absorb some of those soldiers, Fort Bliss officials explained.
"We lose a brigade, that's a possibility. That's 4,000 soldiers. Another possibility is that we gain soldiers," Major Joe Buccino, a spokesperson with Fort Bliss told us.
Military and city officials spoke on the difficult decisions on Tuesday Fort Bliss may be forced to make. "Another possibility is we remain on our current troop strength, we break even in this," Buccino explained.
All of the leaders present in Tuesday's press conference said they want the best case scenario for Fort Bliss.
"This post and it's soldiers play a critical role in our national defense and we want to ensure that role continues for decades to come," Cynthia Cano, District Director for Congressman Beto O'Rourke's office said.
All the possible changes they spoke about may take place despite sequestration. Add that into the mix and you're not only effecting soldiers, you may be effecting the Sun City's work force.
"It'll effect all of our civilian employees in terms of their pay, and that's a concern to us and it will also effect our William Beaumont Hospital and some of our clinics just in terms of longer lines."," Buccino said.
Come what may, leaders want to reassure the public they'll do everything in their capacity to help Fort Bliss maintain its strength.
"Fort Bliss is extremely important to the Army and will remain one of the premiere Army posts in the country," Tom Thomas, the Civilian Aide for Secretary of the Army for West Texas said.