In Taunton, a feeling of angst over defense cuts
As a senior operations manager at the General Dynamics plant in Taunton, Laura Miola oversees the company’s project making communications systems for US soldiers. But for the last week, she’s been doubling as a personal counselor for colleagues upset by the Pentagon’s request to cut $334 million from their contract this year, threatening the loss of hundreds of jobs. “Everyone is running into my office saying, ‘what does this mean?’ And we have no answers.” Miola said. “It feels helpless.” That feeling of helplessness is likely to linger for weeks as Congress mulls whether to approve a “reprogramming” request from the Pentagon that would take $7.9 billion out of existing contracts to cover an unexpected budget shortfall and fund new programs it says are urgent.