A Pentagon submission to Congress Friday confirmed the Department of Defense is seeking a significant cut in funding from a military communications network developed by General Dynamics C4 Systems in Taunton. The company has said the cut could endanger hundreds of jobs at the plant.
The proposed cut is part of a broader request by the Pentagon Friday to redirect a total of nearly $7.9 billion in funds from existing contracts to pay for cost overruns elsewhere in its budget. The requests must be approved by committees in the House and Senate, and already there has been opposition from local politicians to the proposed hit on the Taunton facility, including from Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown. According to a copy of the Pentagon’s submission, Defense is asking Congress for permission to take $334.6 million from the General Dynamics contract. General Dynamics officials said a further $80 million was cut earlier this year by a House subcommittee, bringing the proposed total cut to $414 million.
General Dynamics officials said it was too early to know how many jobs might be lost if the cut is approved. The company has previously warned it may have to lay off hundreds .
The huge shift in proposed spending is driven by increased costs in numerous other operations run by the Pentagon. For example, closure of ground resupply routes through Pakistan is forcing military officials to use longer, more expensive routes that have added at least $772.6 million in transportation costs; moreover, military planners underestimated the price of oil by nearly $12 a barrel, or 9 percent, according to the Pentagon’s submission.
Some of the programs that would receive funds under the request are so-called new starts, programs that were previously not funded. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, vowed earlier this year to block any such requests not urgently needed to protect combat troops.
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