Congressman: JBLM’s loss is economy’s gain

Jul 9, 2015, 12:16 PM | Updated: 3:46 pm
military...
Joint Base Lewis McChord. (AP)
(AP)

Good news for the Puget Sound’s business community. There’s about to be flood of skilled personnel entering the local workforce.

That’s the perspective of Congressman Denny Heck, whose 10th District includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord where approximately 1,250 active duty positions are expected to be eliminated as the Army scales down its forces nationwide.

“It is an absolute treasure trove of an opportunity for people in small and large business in south Puget Sound and in the nonprofit sector as well. These people are an incredible asset to us and make incredible employees for obvious reasons,” Heck said.

While many military bases across the United States are facing reductions, JBLM isn’t experiencing it as bad as elsewhere.

“Everybody is going to take a haircut,” Heck said. “I predict &#8212 with quite a bit of confidence &#8212 that Joint Base Lewis-McChord is going to take much less of a haircut than anybody imagined.”

The reduction in numbers should not be viewed in the short-term, Heck said. Rather, it should be taken into account with the United State’s “re-balance to Asia,” or “pivot to Asia.”

The pivot is a change in military focus from the Middle East and Europe to Asian countries primarily in the eastern and southern regions. It’s part of a plan from the Obama administration to strengthen alliances, expand trade, create a larger military presence, and promote democracy and human rights.

“What it implies is a full-on recognition by the Army of the strategic role that Joint Base Lewis-McChord will play in the so-called ‘rebalance to Asia,’ or ‘pivot to Asia,'” Heck said.

The reason, according to Heck, is because while the Washington military base will be reducing troops, it will still be larger than it was at the onset of the country’s Middle East campaigns following 2001.

“In 2001, as I recall, overall Army troop level was at 460,000. We are now at 490,000. And the Army is going to phase down to 450,000 over the next two years,” Heck said.

“The army is actually going to be smaller than it was in 2001,” he said. “Yet, Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be nearly 9,000 troops larger than it was in 2001 … I think what it signifies is that the Department of Defense and the Army is recognizing the critical role Joint Base Lewis-McChord plays in the rebalance to Asia.”

Heck also touts the news that the base’s Stryker brigades will stay at JBLM.

“Yes, there is going to be some dislocation and it’s inevitable in the wake and aftermath of the wind down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Heck said. “The most important part is that our Stryker brigades will remain intact. That was the most important thing that could happen. There will be no dissolving or deactivating of either of those two Stryker brigades, which are far and away the largest units at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.”

Three other units will also be activated at JBLM during the restructuring.

The Congressman also noted that the move of the Western Regional Medical Command from JBLM to Hawaii is completely separate from the troop reductions.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Edmonds snow...
Frank Sumrall

Cliff Mass: Here’s where Seattle-area snow will hit this weekend

Another snow event is set to occur tonight into Saturday morning, but it won't equal the volume and duration of snow seen earlier this week.
1 day ago
troyer...
Jason Rantz Show

Ed Troyer’s lawyer: ‘No evidence to support these criminal charges’

Is Sheriff Ed Troyer only being targeted because of his role as Pierce County Sheriff? "I do," said attorney Anne Bremner.
2 days ago
police...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Council permanently defunds 80 cops in already understaffed police department

The new Seattle Police Department staffing goal from Mayor Bruce Harrell -- downgraded from 1,500-1,600 officers -- is now just 1,400.
3 days ago
(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Triggered Seattle UW students throw hissy fit after ‘free speech’ flyers posted

The group posted dozens of flyers around campus noting that "UW is the lowest-ranked public school for free speech."
4 days ago
break-ins...
Max Gross

Gross: Seattle small business owner discouraged by endless break-ins

A trendy coffee shop in Seattle is bound to have a great customer base. However, in recent years, customers are being chased away due to routine break-ins.
4 days ago
snow...
Frank Sumrall

Cliff Mass: Here’s where it will snow in Seattle area Tuesday

Snow will turn to rain overnight Tuesday for most of the lowlands while, in the mountains, snow will become even heavier snow Tuesday night into Wednesday.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Congressman: JBLM’s loss is economy’s gain