US defense industry in late surge to stop spending cuts
"About the best we can hope for now is that they'll allow generous reprogramming requests," he said. Reprogramming requests are the means by which the Defense Department seeks congressional approval to shift sums from one account to another to cover unexpected needs.
During recent earnings calls, defense executives said they are not yet including the cuts in their outlooks for 2013, leading some to believe that the sector is confident they will not happen.
But the omission is more about uncertainty, not confidence.
"We don't have specific information about how DOD (the Department of Defense) might implement sequestration," said Rob Doolitte, spokesman for General Dynamics Corp, which manufactures the Abrams main battle tank, the Striker combat vehicle and nuclear-powered submarines.
"They talk about across-the-board cuts. We have thousands of contracts ... and until we have information about changes to those programs, we can't make an accurate assessment of how sequestration will impact us," Doolittle said.
Weapons-makers cite economists who say at least 1 million defense industry jobs would be threatened. BAE has estimated that sequestration could result in the elimination of 10 percent of its workforce in the United States, or about 4,000 jobs, spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said.
NO IMMEDIATE THREAT?
But some analysts say companies making major weapons systems like the cutting-edge Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program will not feel an impact immediately if sequestration happens.
"The big ticket items are not really a problem. They are already operating on contracts that have been funded ...
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