WASHINGTON, D.C.-The announcement by Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel that his proposals to control Pentagon spending would reduce military ground forces has caused concern among Mississippi’s D.C. lawmakers. The cuts, which Congress would have to approve, could put you out of work if you have a military-related job.
“I’m astounded that President Obama intends to reduce the number of military personnel to levels not seen since before World War II. These unwarranted cuts could also force an additional burden on members of our National Guard,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
If you serve in the Mississippi National Guard, the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard, the cuts could mean your job. The plan is to cut several thousand positions to create what Hagel called a “more high-tech” military, reducing troops and concentrating on technology.
But, there are other ways Mississippi could be hit. Ingalls Shipbuilding is a large employer on the coast and the Navy’s fleet would take a hit if Congress were to approve Hagel’s proposals. Some parts of the plan were not specific, so what exactly could happen there was unclear.
Also in danger are Mississippi’s military bases in places like Meridian, Hattiesburg and Biloxi. That would also mean jobs.
If you are in the military, you could see a reduction in raises, discounts at base stores and housing assistance.
“I strongly oppose the proposal’s recommendation to establish a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). The 2005 BRAC did not result in any tangible savings, and I am skeptical that a new BRAC round would achieve a different result,” said Wicker in a statement Monday.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Budget committees, I will fight to ensure that our armed forces have the equipment, training, and personnel required to keep our nation secure.”
He said the bottom line for the country as a whole is that with a smaller military, he believes the security of the nation could be in jeopardy.
Cuts may not be taken up by Congress until after the mid-term election in November.