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Thousands of jobs could be lost if BAE ‘Bradley’ production is shutdown

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“We’re talking about ripple effect across the nation. Hundreds of jobs in Pennsylvania but also hundreds of businesses across 44 states would be impacted if this vehicle line shuts down,” said Randy Coble with BAE Systems.
Because of the tight Federal Budget the U.S. Army is proposing that BAE Systems shut down the Bradley Fighting Vehicle production line for at least three years, starting in 2014.
BAE Systems projects up to 7,000 jobs could be lost nationwide if production is shut down for three years.”The funding decision regarding funding the Bradley fighting vehicle program not only affects BAE but hundreds of suppliers that make up the industrial base of the Bradley program,” said Mike Smeltzer, Executive Director of the Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania.
The Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania, BAE Systems, and other local businesses held an event Thursday, at Tucker Industrial Coatings, to highlight the work that BAE Systems and other companies do for the U.S. Department of Defense. “BAE Systems York builds almost every tracked armored vehicle used by the American military. If that production line goes cold that is going to effect our ability to respond to the military’s need for these vehicles, if something happens during the shutdown period,” said Coble.

The different companies, including BAE Systems, want Congress to instead use money allocated for future projects, so they can keep the production-line running. “Take money that has already been allocated, not new money, to do work on Bradley fighting vehicles that the army has already said it needs done. Just pull that forward in time to do it during the planned shut down period. Instead of shutting down. So we keep this line going, we keep the skill sets in place, the supplier base in place, and most especially so we have the ability to have these vehicles ready if and when our soldiers and marines need them,” said Coble. “The army has a stated need to convert one variant of Bradley fighting vehicles to another variant. What we’re proposing is bring that work forward in time. We will perform the work you already said you need, with money already allocated to do it.”

Congressman Scott Perry released this statement regarding the proposal:

“The employees of BAE systems and its partner companies get our sincere thanks for everything they’ve done to benefit our war fighters. At a time when our Nation is nearly $17 trillion in debt, it’s important that the Department of Defense drives the national security discussion and determines the equipment necessary to complete its mission. I would argue that a healthy Bradley Industrial Base is an essential component of that overall national security strategy.  Congress has given the Department of the Army the opportunity to devise a long-term plan to keep the industrial base healthy, but the Army is over two months late in delivering that plan.  While I can’t advocate spending taxpayer money solely because something benefits our congressional district, maintaining a healthy industrial base is key to our overall national security strategy and a strong national defense. I will work to support that goal.”