NORFOLK, Va. - The U.S. Navy is cutting 500 civilian jobs, a Navy spokesperson confirms to News 3.
The cuts will be made to 14 installations across Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and will include positions in Hampton Roads, although a spokesperson says the number in Hampton Roads has not been determined.
Navy Region Mid-Atlantic says the fiscal year 2022 budget exceeds the budget allocation by $66 million, leading to the need to make cuts.
"These are very difficult decisions and measures to take, and unfortunately are necessary in order to meet the current budget allocation," the spokesperson said.
In addition to cutting positions, a hiring freeze is now in place. Many of the jobs that will be eliminated are ones that are currently vacant, according to the spokesperson, but there will be some layoffs in Hampton Roads.
The Navy is also cutting back on several services, including potentially eliminating cable television service on piers, limiting swimming pools to Sailor training and readiness requirements, and eliminating government vehicles except those being used for life and safety measures.
Local members of Congress said they were still learning the details of why the cuts are necessary. "I'm very disappointed to hear that with the amount of resources we're putting into the Department of Defense," said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia).
"There are a lot of unfilled jobs right now, including in the Hampton Roads area and there's a suggestion those cuts might be largely accomplished just by freezing unfilled positions," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).
“I’m following the announcement by the Navy and will be closely monitoring its impact. My team is in touch with the Navy to better understand its intention with this move, and how we can best support that broader aim while mitigating any adverse impacts to Virginia and to Navy readiness," Sen. Warner said in a statement to News 3.
Meanwhile amid news of the cuts, the House of Representatives is poised to pass the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday.
"When the President's budget came over, we had heard over the course of all of our testimony from top leaders in the military that China is our biggest concern, yet the budget we got didn't really reflect that. It actually proposed shrinking the size of the fleet," said Luria.
Seven ships have been added back into the budget and members of the military will be getting a 2.7-percent raise. Luria continues to be worried about the threat China poses and says there needs to be more growth in the military.
"This is the bare minimum that we need to do to stop the hemorrhaging. We need to make sure that we continue to grow the Navy - put more resources in the Navy and Air Force. We really need to take China seriously," said Luria.