JBLM would still be the Army's west coast hub with more than 26,000 active duty soldiers on base. (AP Photo/File)

Army reduces strength, thousands of jobs to be lost at JBLM

Thousands of jobs are going to be cut at Joint Base Lewis-McChord over the next five years as the Army draws down its fighting forces.

Up to 9,000 active duty jobs at JBLM are going to be phased out.

Congressman Denny Heck's office confirmed the information Tuesday morning. He was briefed by the Army, confirming that it will be deactivating the 4-2 Stryker Brigade as part of the drawdown. That's about 4,000 soldiers, including the 1,000 that are still deployed in Afghanistan.

The News Tribune reports a recent Army study showed a loss of that many soldiers could mean an exodus of 21,000 military family members. That could cost up to 10,000 contractor and private sector support jobs.

"Today's news is disappointing for many in the JBLM community, including me, but I'm encouraged the Army will add battalions to other Brigade Combat Teams on base," said Senator Patty Murray. "These changes are never easy and they will be a tough adjustment for the community, but they come as a result of the end of combat operations in Iraq and the reduction of operations in Afghanistan."

JBLM would still be the Army's West Coast hub with more than 26,000 active duty soldiers on base. That's more than 10,000 more than were stationed there before Sept. 11, 2001.

The phase out will be complete in 2017.

Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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