Defense Contractors Casualty of Shutdown

Lockheed Martin picks 3,000 workers to be furloughed starting Monday.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today opened its NexGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Center, a world-class research and development center for customer and partner collaboration located in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin)
National Journal
Sara Sorcher
See more stories about...
Sara Sorcher
Oct. 4, 2013, 12:24 p.m.

De­fense work­ers are the next vic­tims of Wash­ing­ton spend­ing battles, and it’s not just the 400,000 De­fense De­part­ment ci­vil­ians fur­loughed this week. As Wash­ing­ton braces for a pro­longed gov­ern­ment shut­down, de­fense con­tract­ors are start­ing to send work­ers on un­paid leave as the Pentagon does not have enough on-duty work­ers to per­form in­spec­tions on pro­gress of gov­ern­ment con­tracts.

De­fense gi­ant Lock­heed Mar­tin an­nounced on Fri­day it will fur­lough about 3,000 em­ploy­ees from across all its busi­ness areas start­ing on Monday.

Many de­fense con­tracts, tech­nic­ally, should not have been sig­ni­fic­antly af­fected by a shut­down, since the money that funds their con­tracts was largely ob­lig­ated in pri­or years. However, since the De­fense Con­tract Man­age­ment Agency, which mon­it­ors those con­tracts, has fur­loughed 85 per­cent of its per­son­nel dur­ing the gov­ern­ment shut­down, com­pan­ies’ work has slowed since qual­ity con­trol and cer­ti­fic­a­tion pro­cesses have vir­tu­ally ceased in many factor­ies.

“This is a dom­ino ef­fect. Be­cause the De­fense ci­vil­ians were laid off, they can’t ap­prove pro­duc­tion at the ma­jor mil­it­ary con­tract­ors,” Lex­ing­ton In­sti­tute chief op­er­at­ing of­ficer Loren Thompson, also a con­sult­ant to Lock­heed, tells Na­tion­al Journ­al. “There­fore, the con­tract­ors start [tem­por­ar­ily] lay­ing off, and that im­pacts their sup­pli­ers.”

It also jeop­ard­izes pro­duc­tion of weapons sys­tems. “What would hap­pen to the saus­age in­dustry if all the meat in­spect­ors were laid off?” Thompson con­tin­ued. “It would grind to a halt, no pun in­ten­ded. That’s what’s hap­pen­ing here to the de­fense in­dustry. It’s gradu­ally slow­ing down.”

Lock­heed ex­pects the num­ber of em­ploy­ees af­fected by the shut­down to grow, Lock­heed CEO Marillyn Hewson said in a memo: “I’m dis­ap­poin­ted that we must take these ac­tions, and we con­tin­ue to en­cour­age our law­makers to come to­geth­er to pass a fund­ing bill that will end this shut­down.”

More com­pan­ies are ex­pec­ted to fol­low suit; 1,000 con­tract­ors who work in BAE Sys­tems’ in­tel­li­gence and se­cur­ity sec­tors were sent home and up to 15 per­cent of its work­force could be im­pacted. “Our Gov­ern­ment Re­la­tions team is fol­low­ing this closely and is not op­tim­ist­ic for a near-term solu­tion,” CEO Linda Hud­son said in a memo. “Just as this is dis­rupt­ive to our cus­tom­ers… it is dis­rupt­ive to every­one in our com­pany.”

De­fense con­tract­ors in many cases have thou­sands of sup­pli­ers spread across the coun­try to sup­port their pro­grams, and dis­rup­tions in pro­duc­tion at the top of the food chain trickle down to small com­pan­ies already strug­gling with the con­sequences of se­quest­ra­tion and pro­gram can­cel­la­tions and delays. Na­tion­al Journ­al has re­por­ted pre­vi­ously about how the price of top weapons pro­grams could rise as man­u­fac­tur­ers lay off em­ploy­ees and costs are passed down the sup­ply chain. The Aerospace In­dus­tries As­so­ci­ation and the Na­tion­al De­fense In­dus­tri­al As­so­ci­ation penned a let­ter on Thursday to De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel wor­ry­ing that, like with se­quest­ra­tion cuts, “the prime con­tract­ors must pass along their re­duced spend­ing in or­ders to the thou­sands of small sub­con­tract­ors that make up the in­dus­tri­al base sup­ply chain.”

The in­dustry as­so­ci­ations are also con­cerned about com­pan­ies in­ab­il­ity to “re­con­sti­t­ute crit­ic­al tal­ent in the work­force when the shut­down is over.”

What We're Following See More »
DRUG OFFENDERS
Obama Grants 111 More Commutations
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a release Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced that President Obama has commuted and/or reduced the sentences of another 111 convicted criminals, mostly convicted of drug possession or trafficking. About 35 were serving life sentences.

BUT HE’S NOT ADVOCATING FOR IT
Grassley Open to Lame Duck Hearings on Garland
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.

Source:
DEFINITELY MAYBE
Rubio Can’t Guarantee He’ll Serve a Full Term
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

We can call this the anti-Sherman-esque statement: If reelected, Marco Rubio ... might serve his whole term. Or he might not. The senator, who initially said he wouldn't run for a second term this year, now tells CNN that if reelected, he wouldn't necessarily serve all six years. “No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future is gonna hold in your life, personally or politically,” he said, before adding that he's prepared to make his Senate seat the last political office he ever holds.

Source:
DUTERTE BECAME PRESIDENT IN JUNE
Obama to Raise Multiple Issues in Meeting With Philippines Prez
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Since Rodrigo Duterte took over as president of the Philippines in June, he has made a serious of controversial statements and launched a war on drugs that has led to nearly 2000 deaths. He called the US ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, "a gay son of a bitch." Next week, President Obama will meet with President Duterte at the East Asia Summit in Laos, where he " will raise concerns about some of the recent statements from the president of the Philippines," according to White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes.

Source:
LATE SEPTEMBER
Conservatives Preparing ‘Dry Run’ for Constitutional Convention
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Convention of States Project, which seeks to force a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution, will hold a "dry run" in Colonial Williamsburg starting Sept. 21. "Several states have already followed the process in Article V to endorse the convention." Thirty-four are required to call an actual convention. "The dry run in Williamsburg is meant to show how one would work and focus on the changes and potential constitutional amendments that would be proposed."

Source:
×