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100 jobs to vanish at proving ground


More than 100 civilian positions will be eliminated at the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Army announced last week.

As part of the Army's nationwide reorganization, the restructuring of the eight combat service support schools will result in a reduction of nearly 1,000 military and civilian positions with a saving of $137 million annually.

In addition to the civilian reductions at the Ordnance Center, 256 military positions will also be cut, said Ed Starnes, who is a spokesman for the proving ground.

Military losses will be eliminated through attrition, as personnel are reassigned to other duties, he said.

The civilian staff of 314 at the Ordnance Center will be cut to 181 through transfers, early retirement incentives, regular retirement and layoffs, Mr. Starnes said.

About 38 personnel are expected to be transferred to other positions at the proving ground, and employees will have until March 1 to choose early retirement.

"Some people are already signing out," Mr. Starnes said.

The final retirement count will determine how many people will have to be let go, he said.

"Everything will be done to help those who may need jobs," the spokesman said.

The Ordnance Center will continue to provide mechanical maintenance training after the restructuring, but nontraining functions, such as personnel and concept and training development, will be moved to command headquarters in Fort Lee, Va.

James Fielder, director of economic development for Harford County, said he was not expecting the job losses at the proving ground to adversely affect the county.

"They [Aberdeen Proving Ground] have so many tenants -- about 50 tenants -- they are more stable than a lot of other bases," he said.

"More assignments come in as they lose assignments."

The reorganization is expected to be completed by Oct. 1.

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