With the deadline bearing down, Congress and the White House have floated desperate plans to reach an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff and prevent sequestration cuts from gouging the Defense Department and other federal agencies. Each day that passes means the prospect becomes more and more likely the nation goes over the cliff on Jan. 2.
The Defense Department stands to absorb a 10 percent across-the-board cut to planned defense spending over the next decade that amounts to roughly $500 billion. Every branch of the military will suffer. The individuals who might suffer the most are the contractors either working directly for the Defense Department or the ones working within the defense industry.
Industry execs like Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s CEO, have stood up and warned Congress and the White House that the sequestration cuts mean his company, like many other defense firms, will have to lay off waves of employees. Those prognostications drew headlines in the presidential campaign when it appeared the defense contractors would receive notices warning of massive layoffs just days before the election. The issue drifted when the White House informed the defense industry that they notices would not be needed.
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