Budget cuts may mean less response from National Guard

by: John Bachman Updated:

Georgia's National Guard is bracing for another round of major budget cuts. It could mean lost jobs and a smaller response to disasters like hurricanes.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Georgia's National Guard is bracing for another round of major budget cuts. It could mean lost jobs and a smaller response to disasters like hurricanes.

Channel 2's John Bachman talked with the head of Georgia's National Guard about the impact the cuts could have on all of us.

There are 14,000 Georgia National Guard members. If the budget cuts come that number will shrink and it could be by quite a bit.

Hurricane Isaac slammed the Gulf Coast, flooding homes, and stranding residents. Eight thousand Louisiana National Guard members were on active duty. Some of them came to the rescue of those trapped. However, the head of Georgia's National Guard warns that kind of response in Georgia and other states could be cut drastically.

"We are preparing and beginning planning for additional cuts in addition to $500 billion worth of cuts we've already accepted over the next 10 years," said Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, adjutant general of Georgia.

In January, another $500 billion in defense spending cuts are scheduled to start taking effect. They would impact not only the guard, but Georgia military bases and military contracting companies.

"Please don't misunderstand that, We're looking for reasonableness, but I think pendulum has swung to the extreme," said Butterworth.

Butterworth said Georgia would really start to feel another round of cuts.

"What would it mean to state of Georgia? How can we respond? When the governor calls us, here's what I need. Are we going to be able to answer that call?" Butterworth said.

Butterworth said the guard's Blackhawk helicopters are already bought and paid for. The cuts would have to come in more painful places.

"The things that make all of those things move -- the maintenance, the fuel, the people -- those are things that will be affected directly. so that ability to use those resources will gradually be lost, very frankly," Butterworth said.

Butterworth would not say how many jobs would be lost, but the worst case could be more than 1,000 over the next 10 years.

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