The U.S. Air Force will eliminate 147 civilian positions at Joint Base Charleston as part of a nationwide restructuring due to budget concerns. The move comes as the Defense Department looks to create $450 billion in savings over the next 10 years.
However, a majority of those job cuts would be positions that are already open. An additional 22 employees have agreed to early retirement or severance packages. That means about 28 employees will end up losing their jobs.
An additional 30 positions will also be eliminated at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter.
Joint Base Charleston commander Col. Richard McComb said the reduction will only affect civilian support staff at the base and bring the levels back to what they were in FY 2010. “We’ve actually increased manpower quite a bit since 9/11 and particularly since Fiscal Year (2010),” he told South Carolina Radio Network, “The intent is to get it back to Fiscal Year ’10 numbers as a starting point, if you will.”
The cuts will come in mission support areas, such as nuclear enterprise, acquisition, and aircraft maintenance. Col. McComb said none of the areas are being eliminated completely, but says the restrucutring will reduce headcount. He said some of the cuts are due to the merger of the Charleston Air Force Base and the Naval Weapons Station last year.
Overall, more than 22,000 enlisted and civilian personnel work at Joint Base Charleston, including 1,400 civilians.
For those 28 employees who are losing their jobs, Col. McComb said the installation’s command is working to help them out.
“They will actually not leave their job, in the worst-case scenario, until the spring or summer of next year,” he said, “Our intent… is to make sure that, where possible, we move them to another vacancy on the installation so they do not lose their job.”