Hawaii will lose around 1,400 soldiers at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter as a result of new U.S. Army force reductions, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported yesterday. A few months ago, the Army had threatened to move 20,000 soldiers out of Hawaii, which made nearly every state official (except Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing) howl in protest.
All things considered, the reduction in personnel could have been more significant and we are pleased with the outcome,” said David Carey, the chairman of the Hawaii Military Affairs Council (a group set up by the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce), in a July 9 statement. “This is good news for the state, as the military is a major economic contributor, supporting more than 100,000 jobs and generating $12.2 billion for the state’s economy.”
On the same day, Hawaii Governor David Ige also said he was “pleased” that the reductions were less than feared, though he added that he will remain vigilant.
“We continue to monitor the potential loss of some of our civilian workforce and an additional round of planned reductions in 2017,” Ige said in a July 9 news release from his office. “My administration will make the retention of our current force levels a priority.”
Retention? So Ige’s a military strategist now? Hey, here’s an idea–try focusing on alternative industries and economic goals that might perhaps the state away from the military-industrial teat, rather than cling the state’s imperial past. Because if recent Washington budget history is any guide, all the arms services will be facing even more cuts in the coming years.
In any case, the Army’s reduction plan will trim its force by 40,000 troops, The Army Times reported yesterday. The largest cuts will take place at Fort Benning in Georgia and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, according to that paper.
Photo of U.S. Army soldiers in live-fire training exercise at Schofield Barracks in 2014: Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill/US Army/Wikimedia Commons