A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker jet flies over MacDill Air Force Base in this Air Force photo.
Tampa, FL - MacDill Air Force Base could lose as many as 1,200 civilian and military jobs under a budget scenario outlined this week by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Officials say the cuts could begin as early as next fall and would happen over a five-year period.
In addition to job losses, Hagel says military pay and benefits could be cut, housing allowances could be slashed and there will likely be more furloughs.
It's estimated MacDill has an economic impact on the Tampa Bay area of $5 billion a year, money that experts say fuels local restaurants, shops and the housing market. So the cuts --which would equal about 10 percent of the MacDill workforce -- could be huge, says Richard A. McClain, the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance.
"When you look at that in the Bay area that is a loss of some great economic power there and I would say roughly over five years, upwards of a half a billion a year," McClain told 10 News on Thursday.
The ripple effect of those cuts would likely impact the quality of life in the Bay area as well, says Bob Rohrlack the President of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
"They affect our health care community, they're involved with the hospitals both in training here at CAMLS to teaching with the teaching hospital at USF to being involved in the education community, they have a fingerprint and a touch on just about every aspect of this community," Rohrlack said.
Overall, Hagel says there is still time for Congress to avert these types of cuts. His comments came as he outlined three different scenarios that could result from automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.
Hagel says deep military cut will also impact America's security.
"The inescapable conclusion is that letting sequestration level cuts persist would be a huge strategic miscalculation that would not be in our country's best interest."