Washington's Joint Base Lewis McChord will lose more than a thousand soldiers under a restructuring plan announced Thursday by the Defense Department. Local leaders say it could have been much worse.
The initial predictions were dire. Joint Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma could have lost as many as 11,000 troops. In the end, the Defense Department called for a cut of just 1,250.
Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson says that's a relief. “I think it's even better than we expected we could come out," he said.
Anderson says the Pentagon's recent move to shift its military focus the the Asia Pacific region -- the so-called Pacific Pivot -- played a large role in keeping troops here.
“It’s good for our community, but it’s also good for our Army and national defense given the pivot to the Pacific," Anderson said. "JBLM is the most important power projection platform in the western United States, so seeing it cut substantially would I think be a problem."
But not everyone is pleased. Washington Sen. Patty Murray called the reductions misguided.
“A strong and growing Joint Base Lewis-McChord is critical to our communities and essential to our national security — so I am incredibly disappointed by this decision that will affect so many members of the JBLM community and deliver a hit to the local economy," Murray said.
More reductions are likely.
As part of the downsizing, the Army's civilian workforce will be cut nationally by as many as 17,000.
The Army estimates that the overall cut of 40,000 soldiers will save $7 billion over four years. The overall force will drop from 490,000 to 450,000.
The bases with the biggest cuts nationally were Fort Benning, Georgia, 3,402, and Fort Hood, Texas, 3,350.