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Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 10:18am

Robins, Business Leaders Brace For Cuts

As lawmakers in Washington bicker over how to avoid 10 percent spending cuts set to take effect in January, the so called “fiscal cliff” was top-of-mind when Robins Air Force Base leaders met with the business community in Macon Wednesday morning.

Brig. Gen. Cedric George was 14 minutes into addressing the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce before he uttered the word “sequestration.” But the possibility of deep cuts hitting Middle Georgia’s largest employer loomed over every moment.

“We’re vulnerable as a nation, I mean that," George said. "We are just simply vulnerable if we don’t get our economic house in order. [...] We have got to tighten our belt across the nation and the DOD and the Air Force is responding.”

George went on to detail how the recently completed consolidation of logistics command centers at Robins is already saving taxpayers a purported $100 million annually.

Still, the first question from the audience was about how the base may be affected by future cuts.

“Sequestration is going to be a challenge," George responded. "There’s been a big push to go, ‘could you get in the middle of this policy-making,’ no. We don’t get in the middle of it. But we will adjust to whatever our policy-makers decide.”

George urged defense contractors in the audience to help the base operate more efficiently.

Robins officials call the base “the largest single-site industrial complex in Georgia,” employing about 23 thousand people.