Charleston Air Force Base is losing a number of civilian jobs, including more than two-dozen workers who could be moved out by the early part of next year.

Joint Base Charleston commander Col. Richard McComb said Friday the base is losing a total of 147 positions, but that 97 of those already are vacant.

Of the other positions on the chopping block, 22 employees are taking early retirement, with the remaining 28 spots probably being let go by spring or summer.

The reductions are part of a Department of Defense cost-cutting directive to return civilian manpower to fiscal year 2010 levels. Nationally, the Air Force is eliminating about 9,000 positions.

The air base has a civilian job force of about 1,400.

"It certainly will have an impact on how we operate here," McComb said during a meeting with local media.

Some of the jobs lost were tied to civil engineering areas, food services and morale and welfare positions. The cutbacks mean some remaining employees will have to double-up on their duties, McComb said.

While there has been a large growth in the military's civilian workforce since the 9/11 terror attacks, McComb said the order for the draw-down isn't tied to the ending obligation in Iraq.

The Air Force is moving resources toward other areas, he said, including improving weapons systems and surveillance and reconnaissance.

The at-risk employees will receive job-placement assistance within the Air Force or locally.