Business owners on edge about possible Ft. Stewart cuts - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Business owners on edge about possible Ft. Stewart cuts

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An Army report says three Georgia bases could face deep cuts in soldier and civilian jobs as the Pentagon seeks to shrink the Army's ranks by 72,000 active-duty troops by 2020.

A draft report released in mid-January lists 21 bases that could face cuts of 1,000 jobs or more. The Army examined worst-case scenarios that would cut 8,000 soldiers and civilians at Fort Stewart near Savannah, 7,100 personnel from Fort Benning in Columbus and 4,300 jobs from Fort Gordon in Augusta.

Will Ball, who is leading a new defense-lobbying group for Gov. Nathan Deal, calls the report a "warning shot" by the Army to show states how painful the cutbacks could be. But he cautioned the numbers for each base are hypothetical. Commanders haven't said where they would make cuts.

In Hinesville, local business owners said they were concerned about cuts.

"We are concerned about it because we know it will have an impact on our business. We are more than ready to get more troops, but to lose any would have a huge impact on the economy," the owner of Imprint Warehouse Daniel Clark said.

In the Army's report, there is an option that includes adding nearly 3000 soldiers at Fort Stewart.

No word on when a decision will be made.

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