Hundreds of local Air National Guard jobs are on the chopping block as part of the Defense Department’s plan to cut $500 billion over the next decade.
Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, says more than 700 servicemen at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis and Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill. may lose their jobs by the end of the fiscal year.
“We’ve been laboring under the argument that everything should be on the table," Akin said, "and in fact, the only thing on the table has been defense. Nothing else has been cut.”
Elsewhere, Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri is slated to lose at least 40 civilian Air Force jobs; in addition, about 50 positions are expected to be cut from the Air National Guard unit near St. Joseph.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said the cuts are a painful but necessary step in curbing government spending.
“While personnel is not first place I’m looking for cuts, we have to be realistic about our government beginning to shrink its size and scope,” McCaskill said.
The Defense Department spends billions of dollars more in Missouri than in any of its eight neighboring states.