A group of seven senators, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), sent a letter to 15 major defense companies to gain perspective on how sequestration would affect the defense industry. The letter seeks answers to questions, including what the impact would be on the companies’ employees, suppliers, and bottom line, and how many contracts the companies would have to restructure or terminate. “Significant questions exist regarding the implementation of these automatic budget cuts and how they will impact federal government operations, our economy, and the defense industrial base,” wrote the senators in the June 29 missive, the text of which is included in a July 5 release from McCain. One of the contractors, Lockheed Martin, has announced it is already preparing for sequestration’s effects, as CEO Bob Stevens said the company would notify its 120,000 employees this fall that some of them would lose their jobs. Also signing the letter were GOP Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), John Cornyn (Tex.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Jim Inhofe (Okla.). (See also Sequestration Could Cost More than One Million Defense Jobs by 2014.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.