FORT BRAGG: Report suggests Fort Bragg could lose 16,000 jobs - WFLA News Channel 8

Report suggests Fort Bragg could lose 16,000 jobs

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Fort Bragg area would be significantly affected by the loss of 16,000 Army positions in a worst-case scenario explained by a recent Army report.

The report released by the U.S. Army Environmental Command spells out the effects the deepest spending cuts and troop reductions would have on 30 army posts including Fort Bragg.

Worst case, by 2020 the Fort Bragg area would lose at total of 16,000 Army positions (13,623 soldiers and 2,377 Army civilians). An estimated 24,288 family members would be affected, resulting in an overall population loss in the area of 40,288.

At worst, the region would lose more than 21,563 jobs (18,367 direct and 3,196 induced). That is 8.6 percent of the Fort Bragg area workforce.

For businesses like military tactical in Spring Lake, that would be devastating.

"90 percent of our customer base here is in some way tied to the Department of Defense – military, whether it be families or jobs," explained George Scheuerman. "It would just drain our income considerably."

Brandon Plotnick with the Fayetteville Area Chamber of Commerce said there is a coalition looking at ways to save the 440th Airlift Wing, and that coalition may continue to look at ways to add job opportunities in the region by growing industries that don't depend on the military.

“What we as a community have to do is prepare ourselves to have an environment that everybody coming out of the forces there [at Fort Bragg] wants to stay here in Fayetteville,” Plotnick said. "If we keep them here then it doesn't necessarily matter that they were lost from Fort Bragg because the money's staying here, the families are staying here, and our economy stays strong and our community gets stronger."

Plotnick said while this worst case isn't likely to happen, this report should still be taken as a serious warning that businesses need to diversify if they're going to survive any reduction in size here at Fort Bragg.

"We're not willing to accept worst case scenario,” he said. “We have to fight to make sure that doesn't happen."

At Minuteman Tactical, Scheuerman said they are looking to grow different customers to save jobs.

"What it's going to boil down to is us just trying to branch out whether it be word of mouth or through the internet to try to get more gunsmithing service out there."

Fort Bragg is still expected to remain the biggest Army base in the nation. Currently, roughly 10 percent of the Army is based at Fort Bragg, officials said.

Final decisions on which installations will see reductions have not been made, officials said. The report is designed to help decision-makers identify specific units and organizations to be affected between 2015 and 2020.

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