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/.

    WAMU 88.5

    What The African American History Museum Means to D.C.'s Black Community

    This weekend, D.C. celebrated the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Kojo chats with the civil rights leader and longtime city council member who chaired the D.C. host committee.

    NPR

    Sunday Sports: Baseball Season Stats

    As the baseball season enters the homestretch, Mike Pesca, host of The Gist podcast shares obscure baseball stats and somewhat dubious accomplishments with NPR's Rachel Martin.
    WAMU 88.5

    Protecting Our Data In An Era Of Increasing State-Sponsored Cyberattacks

    Yahoo says information from 500 million users was stolen by hackers. This comes amid growing concern over intrusions into U.S. election systems. In an era of increasing state-sponsored cyber threats, protecting our personal data and the integrity of U.S. voting.

    WAMU 88.5

    Putting The Patient At The Center Of Local Healthcare

    From "concierge" services to iPads connecting new parents with their babies in the nursery, Kojo explores some of the patient-centered ideas coming from healthcare innovation labs at local hospitals.

    Leave a Comment

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