Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station To Lose Hundreds Of Jobs

March 7, 2012 Updated Mar 7, 2012 at 8:57 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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March 7, 2012 Updated Mar 7, 2012 at 8:57 AM EDT

Niagara County, N.Y. (WKBW) -- A round of Pentagon cuts is reaching the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station...putting nearly one thousand jobs on the chopping block. The Department of Defense is looking to cut 487 billion dollars from its budget over the next 10 years. Figures released by the Air Force show they are looking to cut 987 positions from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. All of those cuts affecting Air National Guardsmen and civilians in the 107TH Airlift Wing. The budget cutting plan would also shrink the number of C-130 aircraft in Niagara Falls, from 11 to just 8. Losing that many personnel raises concerns about the future of the 107TH.

"We think that its gone too far and we are continuing our very best effort to identify a new mission and convince the Air Force to bring a different mission...to use the same personnel, at least some large number of personnel there for something along the lines of cyber security...intelligence surveillance reconnaissance or special opps," said Congresswoman Kathy Hochul

The cutbacks would take place over the next five years. It's disappointing news for local lawmakers, who have been fighting hard to keep the base operating at its current level. "The worst thing in the world that could happen is that...they incrementally move these jobs out, and that base closes. I spoke to the governor today, and we are going to do all that we can do on the state side to put pressure on the military," State Senator George Maziarz said.

Currently, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station employs close to 35-hundred people and it has an estimated economic impact of 168 million dollars for the area economy. "Our base has a tremendous reputation. They've got great recruitment, great retention, a highly motivated work force. They really do rise to the top. So, we need to persuade them of what we already know...that this airbase is not just critical to our local economy, but the work that they perform is essential to the military," Congresswoman Kathy Hochul added.

The Air Force is cutting just under 1000 jobs across New York State. Ninety-nine percent of the state cuts are from Niagara Falls. The Air Force budget will be reviewed by Congress.