Some questions still remain after Army announces cuts

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT)-- Redstone Arsenal leaders announced Thursday that cuts to other Army installations like Fort Benning will not hit North Alabama's post as hard.

This, after the Army released details about force reductions impacting installations around the country.

Redstone leaders estimate the impact here will be "minimal," both on the military and civilian sides of the cuts. But specifics of cuts to Department of the Army civilian workforce are still unknown.

"There's an ongoing manpower study that the Department of the Army is doing right now and we think we'll have better resolution over the next several months," said Brigadier General Edward Daly, the Army Materiel Command's Chief of Staff.  He believes installations should know more about that in September when those studies are complete, indicating the civilian cuts correspond with troop cuts.

Joe Fitzgerald, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, said that's why civilian workers at Redstone Arsenal should feel more secure.

"Civilian cuts will be more evident at the associated troop installations where major troop reductions are taking place," he said.

So... not Redstone Arsenal, which only has 1,000 Army soldiers on post.

But there's still another issue to contend with, plainly laid out by Brigadier General Randy George with the US Army: "Unfortunately, under sequestration and automatic budget cuts, today's announcement may not be the last."

Future cuts due to sequestration could bring the Army down to 420,000 troops, its lowest in decades. That's something leaders here aren't taking lightly.

"We would not be able to, as an Army, meet the President's national security guidelines," explained Fitzgerald. "And that is something that should be unacceptable to the taxpayer." He described it as a national security concern.

At the same time, local leaders believe Huntsville can take on those "minimal" challenges this latest announcement brings.

"I think as a community, we're in good shape," commented Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle.