: News

Defense Efficiency Initiatives Could Have Huge Effect on Local Economy

Play associated audio

By Jonathan Wilson

The nation's Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, wants his department to be more efficient and has ordered a 10 percent reduction each year for the next three years in funding for defense contractors.

It's a decision that could have huge ramifications for the Northern Virginia economy.

Jerry Gordon is the president of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. He says he's concerned about Secretary Gates' announcement, but he says scaling back on defense contracting is a hit Fairfax County can take.

"It won't devastate the economy; this isn't Pittsburgh in the 70's where they lost steel, and it isn't Boeing in the 70's when they left Seattle," he says. "The reason for that is that we have diversified the economy."

Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, isn't quite as confident that Fairfax or the rest of Northern Virginia has diversified enough.

He says Virginia received $35 billion in federal procurement dollars in 2008. That means a 10 percent cut in federal procurement, much of which comes from the Department of Defense, would amount to $3.5 billion. That's about how much Virginia's expected to grow in this first year of the recovery so to give this some order of magnitude, this would, in effect, erase the recovery next year.

Fuller says he's not sure Secretary Gates' idea of increasing shipbuilding efforts in Virginia would actually offset the impact of cuts in funding for contractors, but he says it's also unclear whether Gates can actually follow through with the cuts, since so much contracting work is essential.

NPR

Sorry, Sushi Burrito: Japanese Program Certifies Authentic Cuisine

In a world of Big Mac sushi and Cajun rolls, Japan is launching a new program to certify the 89,000 Japanese restaurants outside the country that uphold traditional washoku cuisine values.
NPR

Sorry, Sushi Burrito: Japanese Program Certifies Authentic Cuisine

In a world of Big Mac sushi and Cajun rolls, Japan is launching a new program to certify the 89,000 Japanese restaurants outside the country that uphold traditional washoku cuisine values.
NPR

The Stream: Cruz On Drafting Women; Jeb Bush Won't 'Blame Obama'

Cruz said he doesn't want his daughters in a foxhole with a "220-pound jihadist psychopath." See more updates from NPR's political team in New Hampshire on the eve of Tuesday's primary.
WAMU 88.5

Call To Get All Maryland Students Internet Access Renewed This Year

Should all students in Maryland schools have access to the Internet and other digital resources? One Maryland Senator is taking up the call again this legislative session.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.