JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - The commander of I Corps, Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, invited community leaders and concerned citizens to a community listening session at Eagle's Pride Golf Course April 18. Brown fielded questions regarding a possible reduction of forces stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

After the Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed, the Army began reducing its numbers from a wartime high of 570,000 to a target of 490,000 soldiers. Currently, the Army has about 540,000 soldiers and plans to gradually reduce its numbers by another 50,000 soldiers over the next four years. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the 2nd largest employer in the state of Washington, could see a reduction of 8,000 soldiers.

Brown emphasized that such a cut is a worst-case scenario and nothing had been finalized.

Community leaders expressed concern about the economic impact of such a reduction. "Soldiers at JBLM account for 1.8 percent of Washington's gross domestic product," Brown said.

Brown confirmed that it would affect civilian employment on the base as soldiers assumed more of the jobs performed by civilians. He also said, if it occurs, Madigan Army Medical Center shouldn't see any change in its capacity.

Page last updated Fri April 26th, 2013 at 00:00