Our View: HAFB proves its worth again

Wednesday , July 16, 2014 - 11:55 AM

Editorial Board

It is not often that losing jobs proves the worth of a defense base, but it did just that for the Top of Utah’s Hill Air Force Base after the Air Force announced that about 30 positions would be lost at Hill as the Defense Department plans to cut its costs and staff by about 20 percent over five years.

So, Hill will lose a score-plus jobs at the base, but that is virtually nothing compared to what other competing bases will lose in manpower. As the Standard-Examiner has reported, “Major cuts include 742 positions at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; 372 positions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; 292 at Scott Air Force Base, Illi.; 429 at Joint Base San Antonio; 275 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; 238 positions at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; and 167 positions at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.”

The announcement that Hill’s staffing will remain virtually unchanged, while other locations incur more severe losses, is another example of Hill Air Force Base proving its worth to our national defense effort. We’re proud of all the employees at Hill, civilian and military, who work so hard and expertly at the base. Besides its contribution to our defense effort, Hill continues to be a major positive economic source locally, with the revenue it brings workers and the accompanying businesses and tax bases.

These are tough economic times. As American’s budgets get tighter, there are calls to stop the too-high growth of government. Our armed forces are not immune to these calls to trim debt; nor should they be. The Air Force will cut 3,459 positions and $1.6 billion over five years, following a Defense Department directive. Many of the staffing cuts will be made sooner rather than later. Hill has survived many downsizing efforts the past generation. We’re proud that each time there are major cuts, its critical importance to the nation keeps the base well-staffed.

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