By: Ann Schrader
Denver Post


Colorado businesses could lose hundreds of millions of dollars, up to more than $1 billion, under proposed federal defense budget cuts for fiscal 2013, according to a national security organization.

The Obama administration proposed a 9 percent defense cut that would result in $608 million in annual business losses, said the Center for Security Policy, which describes itself as nonpartisan. Under that scenario, “Colorado businesses may have to fire workers,” the group said.

With sequestration, or automatic cuts, to whittle the federal deficit, there would be 18 percent in defense cuts. The group said annual Colorado business losses could be greater than $1.22 billion, and some businesses may have to shut down.

DigitalGlobe of Longmont, which provides high-resolution satellite images to several federal agencies, primarily through the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, is concerned about a potential cutback.

The Obama proposal also has potential effects on Colorado aerospace businesses that receive NASA funds. The space agency’s proposed budget is down $59 million to $17.7 billion in 2013.

The Orion spacecraft being built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in south Jefferson County receives $1.2 billion in the proposal.

NASA’s commercial crew program, which supports private companies in developing spacecraft and rockets to low-Earth orbit, would receive $830 million under the Obama plan, up sharply from the $406 million approved for 2012.

Sierra Nevada Space Systems of Louisville has received more than $100 million from NASA to develop its Dream Chaser space plane, and United Launch Alliance of Centennial has received $6.7 million to certify its Atlas V rocket for human spaceflight missions.

The next-generation national weather satellite system being developed by Ball Aerospace & Technologies of Boulder and Raytheon Co. in Aurora gets continued funding of $916 million.