Ian Thompson

Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — Solano County could potentially lose $3.8 million in defense contract spending in 2013 if defense budget cuts scheduled for next year go through, according to a report released by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based defense think tank.

The report, released last month, further contends that the defense budget could be cut by 18 percent under sequestration budget cuts — mandated across-the-board reductions unless a budget reduction deal is reached in Washington, D.C. The cuts could include another $500 billion between 2013 and 2021.

That could translate to a loss of $7.3 million for Solano County, according to a breakdown in the report on how much each county in California could lose.

The figure is based on how much Solano County received in defense contracts in 2011, which amounted to 390 contracts worth $40.8 million, according to the study, quoted in a recent article in the Sacramento Business Journal. The loss is based on seeing defense budget cuts average 9 percent over 10 years.

The sequestration cuts are a part of the most recent federal budget agreement, which called for automatic across-the-board cuts unless a budget reduction deal is reached. The Obama administration has not detailed how the specific cuts would be made if a deal is not struck.

Solano County is far from the worst-hit part of the state, according to the study.

Statewide, the study puts the losses at $76.2 million if spending is reduced by 9 percent, and $152.5 million if cut by 18 percent.

San Diego County is expected to potentially lose the most, $1.1 billion out of $11.7 billion in contracts it received in 2011, while Sacramento County could lose $310.3 million from $3.3 billion in 2011 contracts, according to the study. If the 18 percent in sequestration cuts happens, those losses could climb to $61 million and $594 million, respectively.

Bud Ross of the Travis Community Consortium was cautious about the study, since he does not know what sources the Center for Security Policy used for its figures.

Ross said that so much of future defense spending is up in the air before cuts are supposed to take place, and said plenty could happen in Washington to head off such cuts.

“Nobody knows what will happen until after the election,” Ross said, calling the effect “a moving target” in a very political landscape.

Ross further said there is a question of how the cuts would be imposed, which created a lot of speculation. How and where they are going to cut will determine how hard California gets hit, he said.

Hopefully, there will be some agreement before the cuts are triggered, since such draconian measures are not well liked by Republicans or the Democrats, Ross said. Letting such things go forward would be bad for an already-struggling economy, he said.

The cuts could affect the price of the KC-46 air tankers, which Travis Air Force Base supporters want to see based here. Depending in the depth of the cuts, the Air Force may reopen the contract it has with Boeing to revise the payment schedule, according to an article at http://www.airforce-magazine.com. That means if Travis is named as base for the tankers, the tankers would arrive later.

The study itself can be found at http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org. The figures for how much each county could lose can be found at http://www.forthecommondefense.org/reports.