Hill losing 27 jobs, could have been worse

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Twenty-seven positions are being cut at Hill Air Force Base as part of an Air Force cost-cutting initiative, but a quick look at some of the other bases impacted by the plan reveals things could have been a lot worse.

The Air Force announced Monday that it will eliminate 3,459 positions over the next five years to save $1.6 billion under a Defense Department directive to cut its costs and staff by at least 20 percent. The plan calls for significant reductions at headquarters Air Force, major commands, numbered air forces and field operating agencies around the country and at overseas locations. 

Hill spokesman Rich Essary confirmed July 15 that 27 headquarters-level positions would be cut at Hill under the plan. The Air Force has not specified how many of the positions being eliminated will be civilians, but will offer early retirement and voluntary separation incentive pay programs to encourage civilians to leave early. The Air Force says it will pursue voluntary civilian reductions before any involuntary measures.

Hill’s job losses under the plan pale in comparison to other Air Force installations across the country.

Major cuts include 742 positions at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; 372 positions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; 292 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; 429 at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; 275 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; 238 positions at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; and 167 positions at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

Other installations losing positions under the plan include: 19 at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.; 31 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; and 22 at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Several other installations have eliminations of five or fewer positions.

The Air Force will also cut 734 positions from its headquarters staff, including 522 positions in the National Capital Region.

Of the 3,459 positions being eliminated worldwide, 923 of those are coming from personnel who provide installation and mission support. The Air Force is creating a new center to handle much of those responsibilities, which will have a staff of 350. The Air Force has not specified where that center will be located, although it will report to Air Force Materiel Command, which is headquartered at Wright-Patterson.

Although the plan calls for the cuts to be made over the next five years, the Air Force says it wants to eliminate positions as soon as possible.

“We are aggressively pursuing reductions within the first year, rather than spread them out over five years as allowed by DoD,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in a Pentagon press release. “It’s better for Airmen because it provides them predictability and allows us to re-stabilize our workforce sooner.”

The same press release says that as part of ongoing cost-savings initiatives, the Air Force will also continue to reduce contract spending, operating budgets and travel expenditures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.