Defense Cuts Hurt SoCal Aerospace Companies

Department of Defense cuts hit Southland hard

California is already struggling with the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, and now planned cuts by the Department of Defense will cut into the workforce at a number of aerospace companies.

One of the companies, Northrop Grumman located in Redondo Beach, Calif. is already feeling the effects.

A new, advanced version of their unmanned aerial vehicle called the Fire Scout was to be sent out for bidding amidst a host of aerospace contractors, but the Navy abruptly canceled the project.

It’s the first of many such decisions and is the result of those potential cutbacks at the Department of Defense.

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"This is part of the winding down of the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan and deficit reduction," said Dr. Robert Kleinhenz of the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation.

While potentially beneficial for the nation's budget, federal cuts in defense could mean trouble for the Southern California economy. Some firms are already planning on major cuts, including the reduction of workforce by a third.

"Companies have to plan 60 to 90 days out if jobs are going to be lost, even though it won’t be until after the election that we know how bad the job losses will be," Kleinhenz said.

The cuts won’t be limited to just defense spending.

The Obama administration is cutting 20 percent out of the robotic space program. Just this week, Mars missions, including one partnered with the European Space Agency, were canceled.

"Cutbacks will hurt not just the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but all the other companies in Southern California, and the world that deals with them," said Bill Nye of the Planetary Society in Pasadena.

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