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Delegation Highlights Defense Industry Cuts

by Christine Stuart | Aug 26, 2013 1:03pm
(4) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Business, Congress, Town News, West Hartford, Jobs, Labor

Christine Stuart photo

U.S. Rep. John B. Larson

Congress may be on its summer break, but Connecticut’s delegation has been busy visiting defense manufacturers.

From small manufacturing companies like Capewell Components in South Windsor to large ones like Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, where officials announced they were laying off 200 people in June, Connecticut’s delegation has sought to highlight how integral the industry is to the state’s economy.

Just this month, Electric Boat announced it was laying off 500 employees in large part due to the Navy’s decision to scrap rather than repair the USS Miami, which was damaged by fire.

In March, Connecticut’s Office of Fiscal Analysis warned that the state could lose about $906.5 million in annual defense spending as a result of sequestration. The defense industry is worth about $25 billion a year in Connecticut, according to the OFA.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. John B. Larson took his first tour of Triumph Group Inc. in West Hartford with state Sen. Beth Bye.

The aeroparts maker purchased the Goodrich pump and engine control systems business from Hartford United Technology Corp. this past March. The West Hartford-based company builds electronic engine controls, fuel metering units, and other parts for both military and commercial aircraft and helicopters.

It currently employs 570 people and is still hiring, according to Paul Glover, a consultant for Triumph Group Inc.

Even though it hasn’t had layoffs directly tied to sequestration, the company has had to scale back some of its innovation due to lack of seed money, according to lawmakers.

“You can see how the federal money has helped them innovate to save the military money, to make the helicopters work better,” Bye said. “But they need more seed money.”

She said during the tour there were three engineers working on how to make the power supply of an engine more efficient, but there’s no money to move forward with the product. Bye said the company is looking for machinists trained in both the old way and the new way of manufacturing these parts.

At the moment, the company focuses on engine controls that are both electronic and hydromechanical. Glover said they concentrate on small engines at the moment, but are looking to get back into the large engine pumping business. He said they’re also looking at the all-electric engine control.

“Electric engine control is several years away, but we have to be there. We have to work on it,” Glover said.

Christine Stuart photo “And that’s where the investment makes all the difference,” Bye added. “ You have a company like this that’s looking forward and with sequestration how are they supposed to continue?”

But research and development is another victim of sequestration, Larson said.

Larson calls the sequester an “artificial construct” of the U.S. Congress.

“I think this is just a misguided effort to use a meat cleaver to the government when a scalpel was in order,” Larson said. “Hopefully, members returning from their home districts having heard from the general public are going to come back with a different attitude.”

But he was not completely optimistic based on news reports he’s seen from other parts of the country.

“There still is an effort from the more radicalized members in Congress to shut down government over the Affordable Care Act and continue with sequestration even though our military is testifying, even though the Pentagon is testifying, even though it’s hurting our manufacturing base,” Larson said.

“Connecticut should already be experiencing the effects of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the tanker, helicopter money that we’ve received. Instead, not that the contracts are going away it’s just that they’re postponed,” under sequestration.

But with the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Larson is skeptical anything will happen to reverse sequestration, which includes $43 billion in defense program cuts. Over the next 10 years, defense cuts are supposed to total $500 billion.

Congress returns from its summer break in September.

In the meantime, Triumph has not received any money from economic development programs run by the state of Connecticut. But Bye said it still has workforce needs and is partnered with Asnuntuck Community College, which helps give students on-the-job training in manufacturing. Students from the college spend one day a week at Triumph as part of their education.

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(4) Comments

posted by: DirtyJobsGUy | August 26, 2013  3:17pm

The overapplication of Sequestration to DOD is entirely at the Administrations doing.  Besides they are now producing a new defense strategy that will reduce demand for fighters, helicopters and nuclear submarines.  But still our ace representatives want to blame Congress?

posted by: dano860 | August 26, 2013  10:07pm

Whether or not a meat cleaver was used Fed level the scalpel that John would have used would be as dull as the one Malloy and the blue crew use at the State level. Give them more they just whizz it away.
The money released for the F-35-JSF should be grabbed as soon as it becomes available. That program is so over budget it will be cut drastically when they really try to get it flowing. The real sad part is that the US will still be behind the Russians in air superiority.
The other reality is that manned fighter aircraft are being replaced by the drones and other less expensive and life threatening technologies.
If anyone in this State had ever taken a look at our dependency on the military and Federal money they would have seen the horizon was not far off. We are in a fragile State, economically dependent on Uncle Sam.

posted by: art vandelay | August 26, 2013  10:09pm

art vandelay

Our Connecticut Delegation has to toe the party line at the expense of Connecticut jobs. Key committee assignments are in play if the Democrats regain control of Congress.

posted by: Greg | August 28, 2013  12:50pm

Beth Bye has no problem with the constituent manufacturers in her district making war machines that are capable of raining death down upon people, perhaps even wrongly, yet led the charge to wholly disarm each possible lawful CT citizen.  Same with Larson and Blumenthal; “save the jobs!” they cry from the rooftops to enable the administration’s unchecked drone attacks killing civillians and children in other parts of the world with no remorse, and then turn around and bash those who say the same for the domestic, civillian arms manufactuers because “those jobs kill children”. 

Hypocracy at its finest. How many Yemeni and Pakastani children need to die at the hands of the administration’s drones before someone turns around and magically realizes it’s both unlawful and morally wrong?