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UPDATE: JBLM 'Force Reduction' Cuts Announced

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The Tacoma News Tribunereported Thursday that the Department of Defense will cut 1,250 service members from the enlisted ranks at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Lakewood in upcoming weeks along with an undisclosed number of civilian jobs.

According to the TNT: 

JBLM will lose about 1,250 soldiers, according to four state government and congressional sources who are familiar with a plan the Pentagon presented to lawmakers Wednesday. The Army also plans to cut an as-yet unspecified number of civilians from JBLM’s workforce.

Read the full story here.

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Original KPLU Story, posted 7-8-15:

Military bases and neighboring communities in Washington state are bracing this week for a Department of Defense announcement about how many soldiers it will cut at specific bases across the country. 

Eleven state agencies in Washington have been working together for the past month to come up with a plan for how to respond to the force reductions. 

Brian Bonlender heads the state’s department of commerce and is leading the subcabinet on military downsizing. He says communities that are near military bases are concerned but are trying to get ready.

"It’s very much of a shoulder-to-the-wheel type attitude right now, so I think in that sense people are feeling good about being prepared," Bonlender said. "But there appropriately is a certain amount of worry."

Governor Jay Inslee said in a recent statement the Department of Defense has considered cuts of as many as 11,000 soldiers and civilian workers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Lakewood. JBLM has more than 25,000 soldiers and civilian employees. Approximately 120,000 military retirees who live nearby also use the base.

Bonlender says the agencies are working on plans for how to help soldiers find new jobs or continue their schooling. They’re also brainstorming ways to help communities weather the economic impact.

The state says Washington ranks in the top ten states for military spending. Defense dollars represented more than 3 percent of the state’s economy in 2013.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.