The state could lose more than 17,000 jobs if Congress goes forward with massive cuts to the military and space budgets, the Colorado Space Coalition is warning.The CSC – a group of industry stakeholders including space companies, military leaders, academic organizations, research centers and economic development groups – is urging Colorado’s Congressional delegation to help stave off the cuts.
In a letter sent on Friday, the CSC warns that these “sequestration” cuts could devastate space technologies such as secure global communications and satellites for precision navigation, surveillance, and reconnaissance–”areas in which Colorado’s aerospace industry excels.”
The sequestration cuts would cut $1.2 trillion from the budget – half from the military – over a 10-year period. It was the deal mandated by Congress last year to deal with the budget-ceiling crisis, if a compromise spending plan cannot be reached.
“Colorado lies at ground zero for these cuts,” with programs such as the deep space Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, and multiple satellite design and construction programs as critical drivers of the local economy, warns the CSC.
Frank Slazer, vice president of Space Systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, came to Denver on Friday to address these issues at a CSC meeting.
“The last thing America can afford is yet more cuts to our leadership in space,” Slazer said. “From tracking wildfires to finding al Qaeda terrorists, space power becomes more central to American life every day. But these budget cuts would put these capabilities and more at risk. That means less warning for weather disasters and more years paying the Russians $60 billion a pop for our astronauts to reach the space station that we largely funded and built.”
Major General John “Andy” Love, co-chair of the CSC, warns that the impact on Colorado would be especially severe: “We’ve spent years building up one of the strongest space economies in the nation here in Colorado, and sequestration puts it all at risk,” Love said.
“Arbitrary, across-the-board spending cuts are no way to tackle our budget problems,” Love continued. “And waiting for the final outcome is causing crippling uncertainty within the industry. We need long-term thinking that prioritizes the most important investments and focuses cuts on luxuries and waste. One-size-fits-all sequestration would be a grave mistake.”
On Tuesday, the AIA and economist Stephen Fuller of George Mason University will unveil a report detailing job loss figures resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The report, commissioned by the AIA, will update previous projections of defense-dependent job losses and provide the what it is calling the first comprehensive analysis of anticipated job losses in other sectors of the economy.