Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base will merge into a single installation next year in an effort to consolidate services and make the military more efficient, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.
Vice chiefs of the Air Force and Army signed an agreement Friday finalizing the long-planned move. The bases, to be renamed Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, will begin merging Jan. 31, with the transition scheduled to be completed by October 2010.
Air Force Col. Jeffery Vinger, the provisional joint base commander, said the move won't translate into job cuts for the more than 3,000 civilians employed by the Army and Air Force at the bases, but it will mean some of their paychecks will be coming from the Air Force rather than the Army.
"Both sides essentially share a lot of the same type services," Vinger said. "Somewhere down the line, we may be able to generate some kind of efficiencies through the combining of those services, looking at efficiencies of scale in like contracts."
There are 1,284 civilian personnel at Elmendorf and 1,786 at Fort Richardson, Vinger said. Under the merger plan, about 1,200 of the civilian Army employees -- those working in support services -- would be transferred to become Air Force civilians to provide the services jointly for the installation, he said.
Those services include everything from food services and recreational facilities to property management, road maintenance and emergency personnel. About 13 soldiers, many of them chaplains, will be filling joint billets because of the merger, Vinger said.
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