Job cuts at Joint Base Charleston if Congress approves Air Force's proposal

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Joint Base Charleston could see some job cuts in 2015. According to its public affairs office, the base could lose one of its four flying squadrons. Those cuts would come if Congress approves the Air Force's proposal laid out in President Obama's 2015 budget.

The proposal includes converting eight C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes from primary to back-up. JBC officials say the aircrafts would stay on base and receive scheduled maintenance but less manpower would be needed. Officials say staffing is based on the entire fleet of planes being ready, however, roughly 12 C-17s of the 48 have been in the shop for preventative maintenance at any one time.

In a statement...a commander with the 315th airlift wing said...

"We will, in fact, become slightly smaller, but I'm confident that the country's combat power is very capable of providing for our nation's defense," said Col. James Fontanella, commander of the 315th Airlift Wing.

JBC officials say these changes would be Air Force-wide as the United States draws down from the longest conflict in its history.

Col. Darren Hartford, 437th Airlift Wing commander, said these proposed changes are essentially a right-sizing effort.

"These changes reflect the fact that for more than a decade, we've had roughly 12 C-17s in the shop for preventative maintenance at any one time, but had manpower based on 100 percent of the aircraft being ready," Hartford said. "This move to recategorize some of the fleet would align our status with reality and, in so doing, adjust the manpower to support the combat-capable fleet."

In addition to cuts in the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings, the 628th Air Base Wing also would reduce some positions.

"Our primary job here at the 628th is to support our 53 mission partners," said Col. Jeffrey DeVore, 628th Air Base Wing commander and the Joint Base's installation commander. "Our authorizations correlate directly with their numbers, so a change for them often triggers an adjustment for us."

According to Air Force officials, leaders from the active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, and two state adjutants general, contributed to the decision process that led up to these proposed changes, with the intent of preserving capability and stability across the Total Force.

Congress and the White House must agree on the budget for next year by September 30th.