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HEIDELBERG, Germany — Sometimes, what the Army calls transformation is dramatic: the 1st Infantry Division’s decampment from Germany after half a century there, to Kansas, for example.

And sometimes, it’s more subtle.

Currently, transformation in Heidelberg is of the less visible sort. V Corps and U.S. Army Europe, which are to merge into a “modular Army service component command headquarters” to be called Seventh Army, have begun merging their support staffs, composed mostly of civilians.

According to Bruce Anderson, USAREUR spokesman, about 20 employees have merged or been transferred to new offices, often across the street, and more are set to do so — in public affairs, communications, resource management, logistics and legal services.

“It’s because their function is the same, we do basically the same things, with basically the same customers and basically the same procedures,” Anderson said.

When all is said and done, some 90 V Corps civilians and 15 local nationals will have somehow merged with USAREUR’s 500 civilians and 80 local nationals.

Eventually, it’s expected, some of those positions will be “streamlined” away. When and how many, however, is unknown, although it won’t be this year.

It’s an understandably sensitive topic.

“While we are identifying redundant operations which can eventually be streamlined, it is too early to estimate the impact the combining of functions, or the eventual merger of the headquarters, will have on our civilian workforce. I want to emphasize that no one has lost their job as a result of this combining of functions,” said a USAREUR e-mail.

“Should cuts eventually be necessary, every effort would be made to place U.S. and local national employees into continuing positions. It is in our best interest to retain those loyal and capable employees who have been such an integral part of the success of this command.”

In the meantime, “V Corps will retain functions and personnel necessary for training and readiness oversight of assigned units, as well as those functions that support the command responsibilities of the V Corps commander,” the release read.

V Corps staffers were notified in June that their moves were scheduled, Anderson said.

The V Corps commander for the past six months, Lt. Gen. James Thurman, is set to leave for a Pentagon position as an Army deputy chief of staff. He’s to be replaced by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hunzeker, nominated to be promoted to lieutenant general.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
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