“We are way overcommitted internationally,” said retiring US Representative Barney Frank, who later this week will unveil a new report by the Cambridge-based Project on Defense Alternatives calling for $100 billion in defense spending cuts. “We have to get rid of this notion that we have to defend everyone everywhere.”
Frank said that many of the necessary cuts, such as to overseas military bases or troop levels, would not have much impact in Massachusetts. But he acknowledged that in some cases, weapon manufacturers in the region may be impacted by reduced defense spending.
Charles Knight, codirector of the Project on Defense Alternatives in Cambridge, suggested one example involved the F-35 jet fighter for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.
“It’s premature to invest that much in a new generation of aircraft that is three times as much as the one it is replacing,” he said.
According to the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, there are 99 suppliers for the fighter jet program that account for nearly 1,500 jobs in Massachusetts and account for an estimated $90 million worth of economic activity. There are more than 6,000 F-35-related jobs in New Hampshire, according to the company.
US Representative Bill Keating, a Cape Cod Democrat, said Warren will have to walk a fine line between voting for reforms that cut wasteful defense spending and protecting jobs back home.
“There are times there might be collisions” between both objectives, he said, citing weapon systems he called “Cold War vestiges.”
Bryan Bender can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.