Camp Mabry general critical of proposed military cuts

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A plan to cut more than 4,000 soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard was criticized at Camp Mabry on Tuesday. The 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat team headquarters and 16 Apache helicopters would also be eliminated.

“I think it is the wrong thing to do,” said Maj. Gen. William Smith.

A budget crunch appears likely to force another round of cuts to the nation’s military. Smith estimates it could chop the Texas Army National Guard from 18,400 down to 14,000 soldiers.

“We cost about one-third of what it cost for active duty so why would you cut your most efficient force?” asked Smith when discussing the cuts.

Smith said most cuts would occur in the Houston area, but the cuts would be felt all across the state because of the need to redistribute resources. Spreading soldiers out across the state will make it difficult to recruit according to the major general.

The Texas Army National Guard often helps out with disasters in their home state. Soldiers assisted with the 2011 Bastrop Complex Fire and, more recently, the ice and snow storms that crippled much of the state last winter.

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