The U.S. Air Force announced Monday it expects to cut 258 positions at a Robins Air Force Base command, part of changes that affect thousands of jobs at headquarters organizations across the country.
The job cuts would come from Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, part of a realignment of headquarters, majored commands and other organizations. The U.S. Air Force said the overall cuts will save $1.6 billion over the next five years with the elimination of 3,459 positions.
It wasnt clear Monday how many of those jobs are filled now, when any layoffs could occur, or how those jobs are split between military and civilian positions. Reserve Command spokesmen could not be reached for comment.
Chrissy Miner, interim president and CEO of the 21st Century Partnership, said the cuts represent almost a quarter of the agencys workforce at Robins.
Although we expected some reductions with the consolidation of installation management, we want to ensure these cuts are in proportion with other major commands in the Air Force and have as little impact on Middle Georgia as possible, Miner said in a statement.
Miner told The Telegraph she doesnt think Robins is in contention to host the new Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, although we would be gracious hosts. That center is to be aligned under Robins parent command, the Air Force Materiel Command, and is to be run by a former Robins commander, Maj. Gen. Theresa Carter. An Air Force document indicates that center is to host about 350 jobs at a location not yet determined.
Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms said he only heard about the cuts late Monday afternoon and planned on contacting Miner by Tuesday.
Certainly, you dont want to hear about any cuts at the base, Toms said.
The only comforting thing is that it seems that most of them are positions that are already open, he said, adding that he hasnt been briefed by Air Force officials. But any loss of jobs anywhere, especially on the base, is not good news.
Toms said the work among the 21st Century Partnership, the city, the bases command staff and Georgias congressional delegation needs to continue to keep the base healthy and viable.
The Air Force said in a statement that it was following a Department of Defense directive to cut costs and staff levels by at least 20 percent.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement that the Air Force is aggressively pursuing reductions within the first year to provide more money for readiness, modernization and combat capabilities.
Telegraph writer Phillip Ramati contributed to this report. To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.