Monday, November 14, 2011

Panetta: F-35, shipbuilding at risk

Two military programs of high interest to the Gulf Coast, shipbuilding and the F-35, could be at risk with additional defense cuts. In a letter to Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said reductions beyond the $450 billion, 10-year defense budget cuts already planned would reduce the size of the military sharply. If a special committee of lawmakers fails to reach agreement by Nov. 23 on deficit reduction, that would trigger a so-called sequestration that would involve at least another $500 billion in defense cuts over a decade and cut military programs in 2013 by 23 percent. In addition to the F-35, other programs that face termination include shipbuilding, space initiatives, silo-based nuclear missiles and ground combat vehicle modernization. (Source: Bloomberg via Business Week, 11/14/11) Gulf Coast note: The F-35 training center is at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; Gulfport and Pascagoula, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., build ships for the military.