Quinten PlummerThe Valdosta Daily Times
VALDOSTA — With the nation facing looming uniform defense cuts, Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Congressman Austin Scott discussed their efforts to soften the impact of what they described as devastating cuts.
The two Republicans met Thursday afternoon with community leaders at Valdosta State University. They met with state legislators, elected Valdosta and Lowndes County officials, and others.
They warned how generic cuts to the country’s defense budget could cripple the operation of military installations around the country while leaving hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women without jobs. Scott said he wants base commanders to decide where to make budget cuts.
“Sequestration would cut each and every budgetary line at those bases by the same amount,” said Scott, Georgia’s 8th District congressional representative. “We need to ask the leaders of the bases to identify where the reductions should come from, instead of Congress telling them where to make cuts. And if we save personnel, we need to ensure that they have all of the
equipment that they need to do their jobs.”
Sequestration would occur on Jan. 2, 2013, if the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the “Super Committee,” cannot determine a way to save the country $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending, Chambliss said.
As the fifth-ranked state in military installations and personnel, Chambliss said Georgia could suffer the worst in terms of jobs lost due to sequestration.
Chambliss said the country anticipates a loss of 80,000 Army personnel and 20,000 in Marines, which coincides with the rollback of personnel who had been part of the “surge” of troops in Iraq. He said the country has been preparing for the downturn of personnel, but sequestration would call for additional cuts.
“If sequestration kicks in, it’s anticipated that there’d be an additional loss of 100,000 Army and 20,000 Marine personnel,” said Chambliss. “Georgia has 10 military installations, and each host community depends on those installations as vital parts of their local economies.”