FORT STEWART, Ga. - Installation leaders are confident the efforts underway since late last spring to meet the Army's manpower goals have local workforce numbers on a glide path to avoid involuntary separations in the future.

The Army recently released it was moving forward with a planned reduction announced in July of approximately 8,700 positions by Sept. 30. These cuts are based on Department of Defense resource decisions as reflected in the fiscal 2012 President's Budget and require a reduction of Army Civilian employees to comply with decreased funding levels. Stewart-Hunter's share is to reduce our Civilian workforce by approximately 340 positions to reach our end state of 1172 employees.

Voluntary early retirements and voluntary separations are being offered to employees to reach the installation's designated manning levels. Currently, 54 of these voluntary actions have been approved. Normal attrition like moves, resignations and retirement, account for roughly an additional 220 positions in a fiscal year.

The important part to remember, however, is involuntary separations are not on the table said Deputy Garrison Commander Mike Biering.

"We are on a glide path to meet our manning levels through personnel shifts, normal attrition, and voluntary early retirement and separation," Biering said. "On average, we decrease by roughly 17 positions every month. We're confident that this monthly reduction will put us right where we need to be by September."

An additional tool installation leaders are using to manage the manpower numbers is a personnel management board that meets weekly.

The board leverages personnel shifts from positions considered overages to positions that are not," Biering said. "This effort allows us to manage talent within our workforce to best support Stewart-Hunter and the Army's missions."

The announcement may cause Stewart-Hunter employees to be stressed, Biering said. All constructive and voluntary measures to avoid causing excess are being taken, however.

"Our employees deserve to have their concerns eased," he said. "We want to stress this is an effort to reduce positions and not cut people. We are confident we will continue to make steady progress toward our reduction goal through voluntary separations, normal attrition, and personnel shifts."

The U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield is subordinate to the Installation Management Command.