Today marks the first of 11 scheduled furlough days at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane.
Senator Dan Coats spoke to the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce this afternoon to address furloughs and other sequester-related cuts.
He says there is not much that can be done now, but Crane should not be considered for cuts in future attempts to balance the federal budget because it’s an integral part of the country’s defense industry.
“The defense systems we need are electronic – they’re cyber related. It’s not the heavy, Cold War machinery of the 80’s and 70’s and in the past,” Coats says. “That’s the future for the threats we face and a lot of that work is done at Crane.”
Instead, Coats says he supports cutting funding from what he calls mandatory spending programs such as social security and possibly pushing back the retirement age.
Bloomington Chamber spokesperson Liz Irwin says her group asked Coats to speak to raise awareness of the base and its importance as one of the region’s largest employers.
“About one third of the workforce that either works at Crane or in the supporting industries reside in Monroe County,” Irwin says.
So, she says, when Crane employees see cuts, it has a large affect on the Monroe County economy.