More than 4,300 jobs could be on the chopping block at Aberdeen Proving Ground

ABERDEEN, Md. - About 250 people packed into Aberdeen High School in Harford County Monday night with the same goal, to get answers.

"I wanted to find out what was actually going on," said Inez Tyson.

 Patricia Parker, another attendee, added, "I'm trying to find out what the thinking is in what they're trying to do with APG, what kind of changes they're trying to make, and what kind of reductions they're looking at potentially."

A panel of experts from the Army Alliance and Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor explained in detail to the crowd the Department of Defense will make massive cuts to staffing nationwide to meet federal budget requirements.  Aberdeen Proving Ground is one of 30 installations being assessed at the very early stages of the process.

"The budget situation is particularly difficult at the moment. All installations are going to be impacted in some form or another,” said Army Alliance President Jill McClune. “We want the community to be involved, and comment, and begin a dialogue that probably will progress over a number of years."

Officials said APG could see a potential loss of 4,300 military and civilian jobs by 2017. Those numbers were released at the end of June. Currently, the Army is only looking at the environmental impact of the installation.

"It's all speculative in the sense that this is an assessment. This is going to be input for a decisions. This is not a decision," McClune said.         

At the end of the meeting, people were asked to sign a declaration supporting the APG, and many folks walked away feeling much better about the situation.

"I think it's a work in progress and I don't think anything to be anxious over just yet," Tyson said.

"I'm certainly being thoughtful about it, not overly concerned yet, but certainly being sure that the leadership knows the community is engaged," said Dave Lockhart.

"Everybody's got a neighbor at APG, or a babysitter whose family's at APG, we are all connected to this post and having anything jeopardized is detrimental," Parker said.

The Army Alliance is working to put together a single community response to the study by August 25. The final decision is not expected until next June.  Click HERE for more information.

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