Monday, September 15, 2014

U.S. defense industry says global turmoil swaying budget hawks | Reuters

U.S. defense industry says global turmoil swaying budget hawks | Reuters: (Reuters) - Images of two Americans being beheaded and of Russian tanks rolling through Ukraine have boosted pressure on Congress to roll back $1 trillion in mandatory defense cuts that the defense industry blames for almost 100,000 job cuts in recent years.

U.S. lawmakers this week signaled support for President Barack Obama's plan to take action against Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq.

For now, the Pentagon is working on the assumption that the fiscal 2016 budget will include deep spending cuts that were partially offset in 2014 and 2015, and further reductions in personnel.

But executives from Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Boeing (BA.N), government officials and industry analysts told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit this week that more lawmakers now recognize that current global crises meant a different approach was needed - in part because of relentless lobbying by the industry.

Military leaders have warned that lower troop numbers pose a bigger security risk and could even force the abandonment of elements of Obama's defense strategy.