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U.S. air force cutting civilian jobs in Korea

The U.S. air force is cutting hundreds of civilian jobs in South Korea and other parts of the Pacific region, a report showed Sunday.

The Stars and Stripes, a U.S. military newspaper, said the air force was cutting 858 civilian jobs in the Pacific as part of its major restructuring.

On Wednesday, the air force had announced that it was eliminating 9,000 civilian jobs and another 4,500 in the future in cost-cutting efforts. The paper noted that the U.S. military has been scrambling to rein in spending as the defense department faces about U.S. $450 billion in budget cuts over the next decade.

The report said the air force’s job cuts will also affect Osan and Kunsan airbases in South Korea, though exact figures were not immediately available.

Once civilians living on base move out of their residences, then family members of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea could start living there, speeding up the expansion of a U.S. initiative to allow more service members to be accompanied by their families.

The U.S. Forces Korea has been trying to expand its “command-sponsored tour normalization” program, which lets married service members assigned here to live with their family at the U.S. government’s expense. As of January this year, 4,600 families benefited from the program and the USFK has said it plans to allow at least half of its 28,500 troops to serve with their family members here by 2020.

Housing families on base could save on construction costs for housing and other infrastructure in surrounding areas.

The presence of the U.S. soldiers is a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, rather than a peace treaty, and thus left the two Koreas technically at war. 

(Yonhap News)
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