Navy Budget Cuts Threaten Thousands of Local Jobs - NBC 7 San Diego

Navy Budget Cuts Threaten Thousands of Local Jobs



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    More than 5,000 jobs may be at stake in San Diego, and it's all because of Navy-wide budget cuts that will hit here.

    Now leaders in the defense industry are speaking out about how this directly translates to our local economy.

    Congress still hasn't passed a Defense Appropriations Bill for this year, leaving the Navy to operate on last year’s numbers. Now the Navy's dealing with a more than a $4 billion shortfall in its operations budget by cancelling ship and aircraft maintenance, and reducing operations, among other belt-tightening strategies.

    Larry Blumberg is Executive Director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council.

    Navy Cuts Could Hit San Diego

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    He projects more than 5,000 jobs will be lost in San Diego, most likely in the in the ship repair industry, nearly half of the workforce.

    “That person is an experienced welder, or an experienced ship fitter, or an experienced electronics person, and he decides he's going to go and be a bank teller or something else, we don't get that skill set back", said Blumberg.

    Beyond jobs, Blumberg says the local economy will take a beating.

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    "When you take $219 million out of the economy by the cancellation of ship availability, that doesn't go into San Diego's economy,” he explained.

    Gil Field spent more than 30 years as a Navy contracts officer.

    He says the military is grossly overfunded.

    “Why do we need to spend as much as the rest of the world spends on defense when we have 5% of the people?” said Field.

    Still, he says cuts should be planned and orderly, and on that, Blumberg agrees.

    Blumberg says it's about more than just jobs and readiness -- it's about keeping faith with those who serve.

    "When you start cancelling maintenance, and you start cancelling training, and you start cancelling flight hours, and steaming hours for ships -- you know what you're doing? If those ships have to deploy, you're putting those people out there not adequately trained,” said Blumberg.

    He says that there is still time to prevent job losses though; that legislators in Washington need to pass a Defense Appropriations Bill, or at least start talking about it.

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