Defense Secretary warns of more jobs cuts and soldier promotions freezes


POSTED: Friday, July 12, 2013 - 9:21pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 12, 2013 - 9:23pm

As if the sequestration wasn't harsh enough on civilians working at Fort Bliss, it could get worse coming the next fiscal year as more jobs are possibly at stake. But this time, it was also affect soldiers directly.

The Defense Department could be forced to halt recruiting, freeze promotions and end all permanent station moves for soldiers.

"Worried or apprehensive I guess because this is your livelihood, your profession. any time that's in jeopardy, you know, you have a family to support, it's not good news," said SPC. Whitus.

Another soldier echoed the same concern.

"A negative things because soldiers they join to advance in rank and to move on with their lives.,” said SPC. Livingston.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel estimates another round of sequestration would take $52 billion out of defense spending for 2014. In addition to the personnel cuts, the DOD would be forced to buy fewer ships, planes, vehicles, weapons, ultimately reducing the size and readiness of the military in the long run, according to Fort Bliss spokesman MAJ Buccino.

He says it's the very reason the military is working to find cheaper ways to train and keep their soldiers ready for combat.

"A skill that erodes over time if you don't continue to refine it, if you don't continue to train," said Buccino.

But at this point it's just a warning.

"No cuts have been announced. They're just being discussed. At this point, there's no time for anybody on this installation or any soldiers to panic about that," said Buccino.

Specialist Whitus says while he takes the warning seriously, he still looks forward to his future with hope.

"I wanna be a drill sergeant one day and career progression, it depends on you moving around and getting new experience," said Whitus.

Defense officials have estimated that the current furloughs will save the department about $1.8 billion.

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