American Legion to Oppose Defense Spending Cuts
(WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
The American Legion is expected to formally oppose looming automatic cuts in defense spending this week at its national convention in Indianapolis. But a national security panel at the convention warns defense budget issues run deeper.
Allison Transmission vice president for military programs Edward Dyer and former Pentagon staffer Mackenzie Eaglen agree the cuts scheduled for January 1, triggered by Congress's failure to reach a deficit deal, are the wrong way to control defense spending. Dyer predicts the cuts would erase 15,000 jobs in Indiana, drive up national unemployment by one-and-a-half points.
But Dyer says his concerns with Pentagon spending run deeper than what he calls the "mindless formula" created by the deficit stalemate. He charges the Army is talking about freezing procurement of tanks and other heavy equipment for two-to-six years. Dyer warns it's not just a matter of throwing a switch and revving up production once it's shut down -- he says it could take decades to bring the defense industry back up to speed.
In contrast, Dyer says, the Navy and Air Force continue ship and plane orders, in order to make sure there's always industrial expertise in place at the nation's defense contractors.