US defense industry in late surge to stop spending cuts


"They talk about across-the-board cuts. We have thousands of contracts ... and until we have information about changes to those programs, we can't make an accurate assessment of how sequestration will impact us," Doolittle said.

Weapons-makers cite economists who say at least 1 million defense industry jobs would be threatened. BAE has estimated that sequestration could result in the elimination of 10 percent of its workforce in the United States, or about 4,000 jobs, spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said.


But some analysts say companies making major weapons systems like the cutting-edge Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program will not feel an impact immediately if sequestration happens.

"The big ticket items are not really a problem. They are already operating on contracts that have been funded ... They will be working off their backlogs for not just months, but years," said Chris Hellman, a senior analyst at the National Priorities Project, a research organization that focuses on the budget.

Big programs could be affected in the future if for example, civilian contractors are used for training new pilots for the JSF, and there is no money to pay the contractors, Hellman said.

Hellman does not think sequestration is the best way to cut the defense budget, but he does not think the cuts would affect national security. "I think we could easily take $55 billion out of the annual defense budget, I think we should. And the sky is falling rhetoric ... I think is unreasonable."

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