The American Legion is expected to formally oppose looming automatic cuts in defense spending this week at its national convention in Indianapolis. But a national security panel at the convention warns defense budget issues run deeper.
Allison Transmission vice president for military programs Edward Dyer and former Pentagon staffer Mackenzie Eaglen agree the cuts scheduled for January 1, triggered by Congress‘s failure to reach a deficit deal, are the wrong way to control defense spending.
Dyer predicts the cuts would erase 15,000 jobs in Indiana, drive up national unemployment by 1.5 percent. But Dyer says his concerns with Pentagon spending run deeper.
“The nation‘s deficit is our number one national security issue,” Dyer says, “And [the Department of Defense] clearly needs to be part of the solution. But it has to be done in a way that makes sense, not by some mindless formula applied because our two political parties can‘t come to an agreement.”
Dyer charges the Army is talking about freezing procurement of tanks and other heavy equipment for 2 to 6 years. Dyer warns it is not just a matter of throwing a switch and revving up production once it is shut down — he says it could take decades to bring the defense industry back up to speed.
In contrast, Dyer says, the Navy and Air Force continue ship and plane orders, in order to make sure there is always industrial expertise in place at the nation‘s defense contractors.