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Army Cuts Affect Fort Bliss

impacted as the u-s government scales down the army. the current force of 490-thousand troops will be cut to 450-thousand in just two years. if government spending cuts continue as scheduled… that number could be 420- thousand in four years. the government says this will not affect the nation’s war-fighting capabilities. the army is also cutting the civilian workforce by approximately 17- thousand people. tonight, fort bliss is home to about 35-thousand of those u-s soldiers. the post confirms the cutbacks mean 12-hundred positions at fort bliss will be done away with. the major changes will be seen with… 225 positions cut from the first armored division headquarters . another 450 from two armored brigade combat teams. and 70 from other brigade headquarters. el paso is still benefitting from the massive expansion of fort bliss… so this cutback won’t hit the city as hard as it would have a decade ago. abc-seven’s darren hunt has our complete coverage … in 2005, the government closed some military bases… and made others … bigger.. like fort bliss. it went from nine thousand troops to about 35- thousand. that’s why the borderland will feel a pinch… not a punch; “we feel very fortunate tha while there is a pound of flesh as it were to be given that we’re being less impacted than so many other installations.” the president of the greater el paso chamber of commerce says el paso and fort bliss “dodged a bullet” with troop reductions. “while its easy to throw around numbers, those are people and families and just as importantly those that are left to continue to serve will no have more on their plates.” bliss officials said the 1st armored division headquarters will see a reduction of 225 soldiers while two armored division combat teams will be reduced 450 soldiers each. “that’ll put more stress on the force as a whole but it is what it is that’s the orders coming down so we’ll make do.” “according to a utep study, for bliss has an annual economic impact of six billion dollars on the el paso community … these troop reductions will be felt the most at businesses in and around fort bliss like this g-i supply store.” “with a reduction like that i definitely affects our business, makes it a bit slower for us.” clayto lester’s family owns g-i supply on fred wilson. “we’ll do our best to survive god blesses us everyday, just one foot in front of the other and keep on going.” “we haven’t heard about the civilian cuts and that’s a major concern at this point.” 17-thousand civilian jobs will also be cut, including some at fort bliss. “a lot of the civilian employee are el pasoans and life long el pasoans … we’re holding our breath to see what those numbers are going to be.” bliss lost 35- hundred soldiers 2 years ago because of cutbacks. but it also gained an air force security force. chamber officials are hopeful that’ll happen again. rick? thanks darren… and if you happened to see all that chaos at fort bliss… it had nothing to do with

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