The U.S. Army announced Thursday it is cutting about 40,000 soldiers nationwide. Fort Bragg is home to more than 50,000 troops in Fayetteville. The base will largely be spared deep cuts in the latest round of military downsizing.
Fort Bragg will lose 842 soldiers by the end of 2017. The base is home to more than 10 percent of the nation's soldiers, and is a major driving force in Fayetteville's economy.
When news started leaking early in the week that the Army planned big cuts, city leaders started to worry. But Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson took a slight sigh of relief when he received news that Fort Bragg had ended up with a relatively modest troop cut and will not lose any civilian jobs.
"We feel that we have fared fairly well. It’s still going to be a blow to the community because everyone of these folks is family to us,” Robertson said.
In announcing the cuts at Fort Bragg, the Army essentially echoed what military analysts and civic boosters have been saying for years. In its recent conflicts, the nation has been in high demand of the nimble, fast-deploying units based at Fort Bragg, such as the 82nd Airborne Division and significant elements of the Special Forces. This gives the base at least some protection from deep cuts.
Another potential round of troop cuts is still looming if Congress cannot agree on a deal to avoid automatic budget reductions by this fall.