Defense contractors launch campaign to end military spending cuts
Seeking to whip up public support for what’s expected to be a hard-fought budget battle in Congress, a group of defense contractors launched a lobbying campaign urging an end to cuts in military spending.
The campaign, named Second to None, was introduced by the Aerospace Industries Assn. trade group Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington. The group, which represents manufacturers and suppliers of aircraft, space systems and engines, warned of potential job losses and national security risks.
“While we do have a fancy logo, this campaign will not be your typical, glitzy, short term inside the Beltway blitz of advertising followed by deafening silence after one piece of legislation or another is finalized,” said Marion Blakey, chief executive of the association. “This will be a sustained effort, in states, cities and towns, as well as in Washington, to caution the American people and our leaders of risks associated with cutting defense further.”
According to the association, aerospace and defense supports 1 million direct jobs in the U.S. and affects another 2.9 million indirect jobs.
In the face of staggering federal deficits, Congress is in the process of examining deep cuts in the Pentagon budget on top of more than $350 billion in cuts slated over the next decade.
“Our position is: no more,” Blakey said. “Defense has been cut to the bone.”
The Aerospace Industries Assn. website says that the aerospace industry in 2011 is expected to hit record sales of $219.2 billion that reflect federal military spending, NASA outlays, foreign military sales and commercial sales.
But after a decade of heady growth amid one of the biggest military buildups in decades following Sept. 11, 2001, contractors expect a long stretch of cuts in weapons purchases and have been laying off employees in waves.
“This involves all AIA members big and small –- from the largest prime contractors to the smallest suppliers, all AIA members will have a voice in the campaign,” Blakey said.
The campaign's website is at SecondToNone.org.
-- W.J. Hennigan
Photo: Marion Blakey, chief executive of the Aerospace Industries Assn., takes part in the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington last week. Credit: Molly Riley / Reuters