U.S. Army nationwide job cuts lead to restructuring, transfers at Fort Liberty: 'Spaces not faces'

Monique John Image
Thursday, February 29, 2024
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FORT LIBERTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are new details about how Fort Liberty will be impacted by major cuts in the U.S. Army.

The Army says the cuts involving 24,000 positions nationwide will "impact spaces but not faces" at Fort Liberty-- meaning they plan to eliminate redundant positions but soldiers will not be let go.

A representative for Special Operations Command at Fort Liberty tells ABC11 this is a "massive transformation" for the Army, and says it's the largest in 40 years.

The U.S. Army says positions are being cut to streamline its efforts. It also says it is upgrading its weapons systems and focusing on large-scale combat. The 18th Airborne says it will get newly repurposed units for air defense and indirect fire protection, and that its cavalry squadron is being eliminated. But those soldiers will get to transfer within the infantry brigade.

A statement from Col. Mary Ricks reads in part: "(S) service members are not being asked to leave and jobs are not being removed. This is a strategic decision to re-structure our formations, maximize lethality, and prepare us for the future fight."

Meanwhile, Special Operations Command at Fort Liberty says almost 3,000 of the reductions nationwide will be Special Ops positions. But it's still unclear how many of those cuts will be at Fort Liberty.

Colonel Mike Burns says in a statement: "For USASOC, our reductions prioritize unrealized growth, headquarters elements, and historically vacant or hard-to-fill positions. It's important to note that the reductions are spaces and not faces. So, while some of those billets are here at Fort Liberty, there are no physical moves occurring."

One veteran tells ABC11 that service members probably won't be fazed much by the changes.

"The soldiers are constantly moving anywhere from 2 to 3 to 4 years, anyway, to different units. So them being asked to move to another unit--if it's within their job, that's what they signed up to do. They're here to support the U.S. Army," says Retired Sergeant Major Antonio Underwood.

Army leaders say they're working to have at least 470,000 active soldiers by 2029--almost 20,000 more than the Army has right now.