The Daily Independent
Ridgecrest, Calif. —
As Ridgecrest and China Lake await word on the next Base Realignment and Closures, the proposed defense budget could invite unexpected impacts for the county and state.
On Feb. 13, the Obama administration presented its 2013 budget to Congress, with projected defense budget cuts to $487 billion, described by Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, as “over $45 billion less than the President’s request for last year.”
Public data for 2010 shows California businesses earned over $43.24 bullion supporting America’s defense. Under the defense cuts of 9 percent for 2013-2021, annual business losses could total approximately $3.89 billion. The “sequestration” level of 18 percent cuts to the Defense budget, state business losses for the year could total about $7.78 billion.
With data based on the national averages, the Center for Security Policy gathered data to project economic impact reports for individual states and counties.
Statewide, small businesses drew in about $3.8 billion in 2010. The report indicates a $342 million revenue loss under a 9 percent reduction or a $684 million loss with 18 percent cuts. Whereas veteran owned companies took in $558 billion statewide in 2010, a 9 percent cut would total about $50 million or 18 percent is about $100 million.
Kern County spent nearly $500 million in 2010 on weapons systems – a 9 percent cut would mean a loss of about $45 million or $89 million under an 18 percent cut. Approximately the same amount across the board could be lost countywide for contracting and products and services.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr., President of the Center, stated: “A weaker national defense threatens the security of the United States and its allies. Furthermore, to the extent that those in favor of cutting the defense budget argue that such cuts are necessary to strengthen the economy, this report shows the opposite to be true. Drastic cuts to defense of 9 percent – and under the “Sequestration” cuts required for 2013, at least 18 percent – will cause irreversible damage to America’s industrial base and R&D capabilities.
“Local employers, citizens and communities will bear the brunt of these cuts. The Defense Breakdown Economic Impact Reports will allow them to prepare for this impact and to enlist their elected officials in mitigating it.”
Full reports and more information can be found at forthecommondefense.org, centerforsecuritypolicy.org and comptroller.defense.gov/budget.html.