A coalition of manufacturers is using its political clout to urge the deficit-reduction super committee to spare defense from further cuts, according to The Associated Press.
The Aerospace Industries Association and executives from large firms such as Boeing and Pratt & Whitney said in a news conference that further reductions on top of the $350 billion already planned would place hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk. At the news conference, the leaders said they met with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), two members of the super committee. They said they plan on meeting with other members of the committee in the near future.
Defense spending in the United States has nearly doubled since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the AP. This does not include spending associated with the United States' involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, According to research conducted by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, U.S military spending in 2010 totaled about $698 billion and accounted for 42.8 percent of worldwide military spending. China, who has the second-largest military budget, spent only $119 billion.
The rise in spending has been a plus for the defense industry, which has seen their profits nearly quadruple, according to MSNBC.
Under the deal signed by President Obama last month, the debt committee is expected, by the end of the year, to find $1.5 trillion in federal savings. The savings likely will come from spending cuts, given Republicans have steadfastly opposed increasing taxes. If cuts are not found, automatic spending cuts will go into effect, which would hit the defense industry hard.
With the U.S. winding down its two wars, along with Washington looking to cut spending, the defense industry has already taken a hit. In July, Lockheed Martin announced that they were offering voluntary buyouts for 6500 employees and announced that further layoffs could be coming.