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Posted at 2:37 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Whose defense job gets cut?

By Peter Galuszka

With the federal budget being hotly contested, one wonders how many job cuts, especially in the defense sector, will be made across the region and which politician will get blamed for them.

By one account, nearly 20,000 Virginia jobs could be lost if the House version of the federal budget passes. Moody's Analytics, part of the credit rating service, claims that the budget would result in 700,000 fewer jobs nationally.

Among the jobs cut in Virginia would be 2,300 workers at Norfolk's U.S. Joint Forces Command. A little closer to D.C., as part of the JFCOM shutdown, some 171 jobs would be lost at the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, part of the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, about 20 miles east of Fredericksburg on the Potomac.

In Maryland, Northrop Grumman announced this week that it is cutting 500 employees at its plants. These may not strictly be related to the budget proposal but are nonetheless part of a general slowdown in defense spending.

To be sure, defense cuts are inevitable as the war in Iraq winds down, even as fighting in Afghanistan continues. After the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terrorism brought the D.C. area a cornucopia of new defense spending, either directly in new military personnel or through an explosion of defense contracting, as The Post has noted in detail.

As spending cuts proceed, some politicians are likely to get gored. But which ones isn't exactly clear.

Blue Virginia, a pro-Democratic blog, notes that Virginia's conservative politicians back H.R. 1, which the blog states would end up cutting 19,500 jobs in the state. It notes that many state Republicans such as Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Rep. Randy Forbes, have been silent on the budget cuts in the House bill even though they aggressively fought closure of JFCOM went it was announced last year. To be fair, Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb of Virginia fought the closure as well. Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader, also led a failed effort to save an alternate jet engine for the new F-35 jet fighter; maker Rolls Royce North America is headquartered and has factories in Virginia.

As the drumbeat for cutting federal spending continues, it will be increasingly important to keep score on how it all turns out in the real world.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Peter Galuszka  | March 4, 2011; 2:37 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., Maryland, Va. Politics, Virginia, development, economy, guns, military  
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These cuts you mention are peanuts we need hundreds of thousands of fed workers to get laid off or fired...especially at the exec desk sitter level......anyone involved in writing regualtions or implementing them needs to go as well as every other department head .....

Posted by: ticked | March 4, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It is time! The first question to be resolved is not WHO gets cut but What. The defense budget is absolutely loaded with totally unneeded items which are largely money makers for certain states, or post WW2 mentality, or far more than what a strong military needs. Many of the spending projects are excessive and the military would get along just fine if the quanity was to be reduced. Eg; Cut 10 new aircraft carriers to 4.currently there are 11 in service with the last scheduled for decommissioning in 35 years. Reduce the number of F35 to half the 2200 currently on order.The current fleet of aircraft are new, state of the art and good for a long period to come. There are many more areas where cuts can be effectivly made in the hardware arena alone. Next cut the total nunber of bases overseas. currently there are over 89, some of which are scheduled for expansion.For example Yokuska Japan is headquarters for fleet command and is staffed by a rear Admiral,and staffers and about 700 military. there is a total of 10 ships in that command. Simular functions exist on Hawaii, Midway, guam,Germany,Persian gulf, Azores and many others. And thats only the Navy. Simular situations exist for all other branches of the military. Next; take a really hard look at base closures in the US, there are over 380 in almost every state. The Army alone has hundreds far more than the other branchs of the military. With those base cuts many Generals and Admirals and very large staff could be eleminated. The cost savings would be astrinomical. then examine the remaining number of civilian military employees are not needed. There is ample room at all levels to cut defense spending, if only congress has the guts. It must come, sooner or later its only a question of time before the military breaks the budget.

Posted by: cliffc1 | March 4, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

What's important isn't the politics, as Mr. Galuszka would suggest. What's important is whether the cutting is done where it is most appropriate and effective. At a time when American's have called for cuts in military spending, it is wrong to foment political concerns, identifying this state or that state or this politician or that politician as losers when what really matters is how sensible and effective are the cuts that will be made.

How about you write an op-ed that analyses these more important questions Mr. Galuszka?


Posted by: mmyotis | March 6, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

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