NPR : News

Filed Under:

    Red Alert: Aerospace Industry Counts Down to Cutbacks

    It's red alert time for aerospace industry executives, workers and contractors.

    As they mingled today at the Aerospace Industries Association's annual Year-End Outlook luncheon at a Washington Grand Hyatt, the bright red electronic digits kept counting down for them.

    The ever-changing figures on the large digital clock, set up on the ballroom stage, reminded the roughly 300 luncheon participants of the time left before they feel the effects of massive, automatic cuts in government spending.

    "Stop the clock," said a sign above the digits.

    As silver forks started to pick at green salads, the clock's countdown digits read: "27 days 11 hours 10 minutes 5 seconds."

    Aerospace workers may be facing huge layoffs if planned federal spending cuts go forward under a legal process known as sequestration. The cuts, including roughly $54 billion for U.S. national security spending, will commence in the new year unless Congress stops them during the complicated negotiations in progress on Capitol Hill.

    Defense budgeting should not be reduced to a mere "political bargaining chip," AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said. Her scarlet suit matched the red digits as she stood along side the countdown clock.

    "It is far too easy to conclude that the companies, workers and communities that comprise this industry can withstand anything; that they can adapt to any change, no matter how sudden or harmful," she said.

    Blakey labeled herself an optimist who believes Congress will solve this fiscal crisis and block the drastic cuts now set on autopilot. But even so, the "fiscal cliff" drama already has harmed her industry, and the nation, she says.

    "What message did sequestration telegraph to the world about our country, our commitment to national security, our commitment to economic prosperity and our commitment to the next generation of defense and aerospace innovation?" she asked.

    Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

    NPR

    Book Review: 'Kinder Than Solitude'

    Ellah Allfrey reviews Kinder Than Solitude, by Yiyun Li.
    NPR

    Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'

    Scientists and food activists are launching a campaign to promote seeds that can be freely shared, rather than protected through patents and licenses. They call it the Open Source Seed Initiative.
    NPR

    John Edwards Resumes Career As Trial Attorney

    The former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful is one of three attorneys representing a boy in a medical malpractice case in North Carolina.
    NPR

    Police In Canada Make Arrest Related To 'Heartbleed' Bug

    A 19-year-old computer science student was taken into custody for allegedly exploiting the bug to steal sensitive information from government servers.

    Leave a Comment

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