FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Soldiers and their families on Army bases around the country could see cutbacks in trash pickup, lawn-mowing and other services as the military tries to hold down non-war spending while escalating the fight in Afghanistan.
Even as total defense spending rises, the portion of the Army budget dedicated to running its bases is down 20 percent this year, an Army official said.
The budgets for individual bases are not yet final. But the proposed cuts vary in size and run as deep as 40 percent at some major installations, including Fort Campbell, according to the figures.
Fort Campbell, the home of the 101st Airborne Division, is considering eliminating lawn-mowing and janitorial services and shortening hours at recreation centers, a Fort Campbell spokeswoman said. But that may not be enough, she said.
Some members of the military are worried money will be pulled from programs that help spouses and children cope with soldiers’ repeated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, who is in charge of the budget for bases, said in a recent commentary distributed to Army post newspapers that the service has enjoyed unprecedented levels of funding in the past years, but that can’t continue.
“As the country faces some stiff economic challenges, we are forced to reduce funding and exact a greater level of stewardship over our resources,” Lynch said. Starting this year, “performance levels for some installation services will be notably less than we’ve had in recent years and will remain at that level for the foreseeable future.”
It wasn’t clear how the military’s other branches might be affected, though the Army is by far the largest.