About 3,400 Army contract workers would lose their jobs in food services, supply and shipment of household goods at stateside bases if Congress fails to ease the budget shortfall in current negotiations on the defense bill.
In a statement issued late last Friday, the Army said the impact of the job losses at base Logistical Readiness Centers (LRCs) would be felt first at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Fort Meade, Md.
The Army's 73 stateside LRCs manage food services, ammunition supply, clothing issue, bulk fuel, and the shipment of personal property and household goods.
The LRCs come under the Army's Materiel Command, based in Huntsville, Ala.
Kim Hanson, a spokeswoman for the Materiel Command, said that the job losses could result in the closure of dining facilities or limited hours at the facilities, and delays in the shipment of household goods.
Hanson said contract jobs would have to be cut if the Army lacked the funding to renew the contracts when they expire. She said that the Materiel Command would seek to preserve services "and especially those services that affect combat readiness."
The Army's statement said that the initial job cuts would affect Forts Hood, Stewart and Meade, but "other installations may be affected if alternative funding sources cannot be identified."
Gen. Dennis Via, head of the Materiel Command, which has a current budget of about $50 billion, has repeatedly warned of the impact on services and readiness if Congress failed to ease the restrictions of the sequester process under the Budget Control Act.
In a visit to Fort Hood earlier this year, Via said his main concern was that the budget shortfall would limit his ability to provide support that would keep troops combat ready. "Sequestration impacts that in a huge way," Via said. "There will be tough decisions on what we can and can't accomplish."
The annual National Defense Authorization Act currently has stalled in Congress, although Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, have said they expect the bill to pass before the end of June.
President Obama has threatened to veto the bill unless it ends sequestration.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@military.com.