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UPDATED: Lockheed Now Plans 2,400 Furloughs After DoD Decides To Bring Back Civilian Workers (10/7 at 12:45 p.m)

WASHINGTON: OK. That headline is deliberately provocative. But here’s the evidence. The president of the United States cancels an important trip to Asia — including the first visit by a president to the increasingly powerful state of Malaysia since 1966 — designed to help anchor our Pacific pivot. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping swept through the region — including Malaysia — unchallenged.

If you want some idea of how the Chinese view this, read this from the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong paper with close ties to the Chinese leadership:

“Analysts said the developments deal a potential blow to the Obama administration’s stated intention to concentrate more on Asia, where unease is rising over China’s growing might.

“‘Now, Xi has the floor to himself and it makes the US as a country, its political system and democracy look weak,'” said Ian Storey of Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ‘Meanwhile, China looks flush with cash and full of confidence, and it is relatively stable at home.'”

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The American government, meanwhile, suffers a completely artificial cash crisis with grave implications for our ability to govern, to credibly project force, to deter bad actors — all thanks to about a dozen members of a GOP faction in the House. To be fair, there are small elements of the Democratic Party who agree with the isolationist views of many in the Tea Party, but they have little influence because they are subsumed within the broader party. What would the authors of the Federalist Papers, who warned against factions, tell the Tea Party? They would, of course, celebrate the liberty that guarantees the faction the right to speak and to act. But they would also warn that the interests of the Republic require compromise and consideration of the greater good. They would also probably point to the limited influence of the Democratic isolationists as proof of the benefits of a Republic with many interests spread across income and geography.

Now the ripples are beginning to spread through the defense industry. The world’s biggest military contractor, Lockheed Martin, will lay off 3,000 people starting Monday.

“Unfortunately, we expect the number of employees affected by the shutdown to grow as we experience contractual actions and the impact of furloughs among DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency) and other customer inspectors across our business and our suppliers’ businesses,” CEO Marilyn Hewson said in an email today. “In an effort to minimize the impact on our employees and their families, those affected will be directed to use available vacation time and floating holidays in lieu of being furloughed. Employees who don’t have sufficient vacation available will be advanced up to 40 hours. If the shutdown extends beyond available vacation time, employees will be transitioned to unpaid furlough leave.”

Meanwhile, allied leaders in South Korea, the rest of Asia and throughout Europe keep pressing our ambassadors and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on just what the federal government shut down means about America’s commitment to our common defense.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel scrambled during the week to reassure our South Korean and Japanese allies during his third trip to the region. We agreed to base several Global Hawk reconnaissance and intelligence drones in Japan, the first time we’ve based any UAV or RPA or whatever you want to call them there. The Chinese must be grinding their teeth over this as the U-2 successor can easily monitor the disputed seas between China and Japan. The Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and other regional friends of the United States must be quite happy. Also, we’re sending some P-8s to Japan to keep an eye on submarine traffic in the region. That will bolster our ability to monitor Russian and Chinese submarines, both of crucial interest to Japan.

Finally, we announced final agreement to build a second Tippy Two (AN-TPY-2) radar in Japan to fill gaps in our coverage of the North Korean missile threat. (Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced our intent to do this a year ago.)

Finally, a major foreign visit by a senior administration official wouldn’t be complete without a new agreement, in this case a U.S.-Japanese “strategic vision” for East Asia and the Pacific. What is it? Well, the State Department description doesn’t seem to indicate much that’s new, but here it is: “our shared values of democracy, the rule of law, free and open markets, and respect for human rights, will effectively promote peace, security, stability, and economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.”

While Hagel did his best to remind China and North Korea of our capabilities and commitment to our allies , American troops remain on guard and on mission throughout the world even though they aren’t getting paid because of the federal government shutdown. OK, they will get paid, but that’s not the same. And, as Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted on the Senate floor today, any family member unfortunate enough to lose someone in combat during the standoff will see what he called “truly outrageous” delay in receiving death benefits.

While the federal government remains crippled, the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration grind on. While the amount of the cuts imposed by sequestration may be reasonable over time, the manner in which they are being made is not. The military must be allowed to plan and build a rational strategy. So this must also change and that will require support from the Tea Party.

The actions of the House faction shine a bright light on the fundamental commitments of the United States. Are we a nation committed to global and free commerce? If so, we must continue to field armed forces able to guarantee freedom of the seas and adherence to international law. Are we committed to ensuring the basic global rights to life and liberty enshrined in our Constitution and the United Nations Charter? If so, we need a global and expeditionary military, one that cannot be hamstrung and made to look ridiculous by the actions of a dozen people, elected or not.

Comments

  • anonymous

    The U.S. is like a hitler on unrestrained steroids. The global conquest dreams are still alive but the health effects of pursuing those ugly dreams are showing through.

    • Colin Clark

      I will defend to the death your freedom to voice your views. But comparing the US to Hitler’s Germany is patently offensive, incorrect and marks you as a thinker of little value. We are a great power. We have done stupid and immoral and bad things, as has virtually every government on the planet. But we are a nation of laws undergirded by a resilient if sometimes incredibly maddening, democratic system. Our economic system works, if not quite as well as it should. Few countries have done as many good things in as many places for the right reasons as has America. If you wish to express an opinion, Jeremy, please supply facts and a rational argument. Name calling is what children and despots do.

  • tim

    this problem is created because of our clown like administration,china russa and most countries see america as being run buy a bunch of amatures,,and there right,,,we are on our way down and obama with a bunch of wacko advisors has made it so,,,,

    • PolicyWonk

      Not according to recent history.

      This administration was elected due to the worst GOP/Presidential performance in over a century, according to every scholarly Presidential Ranking Study conducted since. The office of the presidency is considered by many the hardest job on the planet in relatively good times. However, this president inherited:

      – 2 unfinished wars (one of which never should’ve happened), both incompetently managed from the start (both unfunded)
      – The worst string of foreign policy and national security disasters in world history
      – The worst economic disaster since the Great Depression (after inheriting am $800B annual surplus)
      – Due to severe neglect (i.e. ignoring warnings of problems in both sectors that started coming in mid-2001), simultaneous near melt-downs of the real estate and financial sectors
      – The rest of the planets population believing the US was a larger threat to world peace than IRAN
      – A massive exodus of US manufacturing, and dual use technologies and manufacturing techniques to the communist Chinese (causing the loss of 8.2 million jobs and the tax revenues, while giving China a huge helping hand to modernize their military)
      – The most blatant corporate welfare program in history (a.k.a. “Medicare Part D”), coupled with the biggest donation of welfare to the wealthy (the unwarranted tax breaks for the super-wealthy), both of which were unfunded.
      – Deep resentment on the part of the GOP, that they would lose the office of POTUS not merely to a democrat (that was bad enough), but to a *black* democrat (talk about feeling “entitled!”).

      In short, from 2001-2008 the GOP’s special brand of “leadership” caused more damage to the United States than the USSR was able to accomplish in 60 years of cold war.

      Yet you claim the Obama Administration is loaded with “wacko advisors”? Compared to the administration of George W Bush, these guys (for all their faults) are genius’s, and have done NOTHING to match the incompetence of their predecessors. Even worse – the so-called “leadership” of what passes for today’s GOP are still in place (despite their historic incompetence), and standing in the way of fixing the very problems they created.

      Those are the facts, I’m sorry to say. And I truly wish none of this happened. I don’t care who sits in the Big Chair – I’m an American first and want this nation to do well.

      To paraphrase one of our nations founders (Geo. Washington, I believe): “The true enemies of the United States, are those who put their party politics above the good of the nation…”. By virtue of their ACTIONS – this is exactly what the GOP has been, and is still doing to the United States.

  • Mike

    Gee, what a morning for American Democracy… Here we have two comments, one from a GOP apologist, who probably is getting paid by the GOP or listens too much to old Pyloric Cyst Rush and another more than likely working for the PLA… Only in America…. Is this a great place or what?

  • Don Bacon

    It’s faulty reasoning that the US is isolationist because its clock is getting cleaned in Asia by China which is flush with cash and glad-handing other Asians at various conferences, while the US is stuck messing around with drones and little crappy combat ships. If the US is isolationist it’s because nobody likes the US and its belligerent ways.

    How should one act in ones’ neighborhood? Like a bully? No. That doesn’t work. The US should be more engaged toward being a friend, economically and politically, and less focused on projecting military power that has never been productive anyhow. Don’t be isolationist — engage with people on a cooperative basis. American Exceptionalism sucks. People don’t like it, understandably. So dump it, and be a friend and not a bully.

    That works in my town — how about in yours? It works for China, but that’s understandable too. They’ve been around for 5,000 years. The new kid on the block needs to learn how it is.

    • Colin Clark

      The US is not isolationist. Many members of the Tea Party are — whether they accept the tag or not. If you are happy cutting military spending in a dangerous fashion that impedes any administration’s ability to rationally spend operational and readiness funds (Sequestration) and you are happy cutting military spending because, after all, it’s just another part of Big Government, then you are an isolationist. If you are happy cutting the international aid and military training budget — already tiny as a percentage of GDP compared to other nations that want to make friends and influence people — without any rational approach but just because it’s the State Department or Big Government, then you are an isolationist. Ask Sens. McCain or Graham what they think of the Tea Party approach to military spending. Or Sen. Levin. Or Rep. McKeon. Or or or. Grover Norquist and his acolytes have made very clear their positions on military spending. OF COURSE military spending must come down substantially over the next five to seven years as we leave Afghanistan and return to a relatively normal peacetime state. That’s not the issue. The issue is how you do it and what effects the manner of those cuts has on our ability to project economic, diplomatic and military power. Every country in the world is watching the disaster that is today’s Congress and wondering just how impotent and unsteady a partner America may become. One of the things watched most closely by our allies is the quality of the American nuclear umbrella under which they sit. Sequestration is affecting the readiness of our nuclear forces through its impact on base spending, not to mention our ability to buy new helicopters to protect and maintain our ICBM sites. Draw down we must. But the Tea Party approach is irresponsible and dangerous. Let’s not even mention the plummeting stock market and the lack of courage shown by Speaker Boehner in passing an increase to the debt ceiling and the effect that has on our ability to flex our wasting economic muscles and thus influence international policy.

  • Don Bacon

    I feel really, really sorry for Lockheed-Martin which produces the crappy underpeforming overpriced late-delivered F-35. Last week, the company raised its quarterly dividend by 16% to $1.33 a share which gave Lockheed’s president something to be proud of.

    “We’re proud to deliver to our shareholders the 11th consecutive annual double-digit increase of the Lockheed Martin quarterly dividend rate,” said CEO and President Marillyn Hewson in a press release.
    Ms. Hewson squeezed by on $11,390,322 last year, when executive compensatio0n rose 18.5% at Lockheed-Martin. (Compare that with the military limited to one percent, and not at the 1.8% index.)
    http://insiders.morningstar.com/trading/executive-compensation.action?t=LMT

    • bobbymike34

      You do understand that LM is owned by public sector pension plans, union pension plans and even held by lots of middle class Americans and retirees through fix income dividend funds? They actually benefit from the increased dividend.
      AND guess what you could even buy LM shares yourself (hurray for the free market) and get paid $1.33/share.

  • GoNavy

    The issue that is not talked about much in the media is we have choices:

    – fund social programs including keeping our federal insurance programs like medicare and social security funded
    – fund our military which currently spends nearly as much as the rest of the world combined
    – increase taxes

    Reasonably there is a combination of these for a solution. Which will require negotiations and quite a bit of time considering how negotiations go currently in Congress.

    Given the time required and the desperate need to fund the government and keep it running. The GOP perspective to say do it my way now or we talk our ball and do not play is tantamount to blackmail and is irresponsible and harmful to the American people and our interests.

    • bobbymike34

      I wonder what news you have been following,
      The GOP has clearly said we’d like to negotiate and Obama has said he will not negotiate. Who’s to blame for the current impasse?

  • bobbymike34

    Always amazed at the anti-Americanism at a defense blog don’t you losers have anything better to do like get a job or clean you parents basement, oops I mean your homes.

  • Sejarah Melayu

    The US shutdown is good news to all the people of the world, except for the
    Americans & its Zionism allies. The plan to make war in Syria had to be
    abandoned, as now the US doesn’t have the money to even pay for its jet fuel
    for its fighter planes. Almost all airborne training except for mission in
    Afghanistan had to be shelved and more than 2/3 of its fighter planes had to
    be grounded. Even some of the airplane technicians had to be furloughed. No
    more war is good for the peaceful co-existance for the people of the world,
    but bad for the American & its Zionism allies. Now they don’t even have the
    money to fly the jets, bomb & kill other people anymores…. ;-)

  • Sejarah Melayu

    The China threat is a hoax!!! By promoting the China threat of military
    expansion towards South East Asia, the US has managed to convince some stupid
    ASEAN countries to let the US to base its fighter planes & military inside
    their own countries. The US plans is actually to scare the shit out of the
    ASEANs. And when the ASEANs are scare shit of the Chinese, they unconsciously
    let the Americans occupied their countries with its military.

    The same thing happen to the Arab Gulf countries. The US managed a propaganda
    war against the Iraqis for decades, saying the Iraqis have chemical weapons,
    developing the nuclear weapons & etc. If you let the Iraqis developed the
    nuclear weapons, sooner or later the Iraqis will be a threat to whole the Arab
    Gulf States. Sooner or later the Iraqis might start a war & occupy the smaller
    & defendless Arab Gulf states.

    Thus, to prevent the future Iraqi aggression against them, these stupid Arab
    countries with their corrupted leaders agree to let the Americans to base its
    military personnals and fighter planes inside their countries, in the pretext
    to protect them from the Iraqis. But the Arab Gulf states are fool Arabs. It’s
    all a hoax. In the end, the Americans managed to occupied all of the Arab Gulf
    states without even firing a single bullet!!!

    Now, once the US already have a foothold in these stupid Arab states, you
    think that it will be easy to kick the Americans out? U think those stupid
    Arab sheikhs, willing to go to war against the Americans? No way. Let me
    become a billionaire, buy some English football clubs while the majority of my
    fellow citizens suffers.

    In Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Chapter 3: Attack by Stratagem, he said “In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.”

    Another of his words, ” Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.”

    In addition, he says, “With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.”

    Thus, it looks like the greatest triumph of the US military is not the occupation of Iraq, but the occupation of the stupid Arab Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait & Oman, without even firing a single bullet & without even losing a single American soldier. The Arabs leaders have been deceived and they are such morons!

    By the way, I’m a Malaysian & a Muslims, and I detest the wasteful & corrupted
    habits of the Arab leaders. These are the Wahabbis, spreading their extreme
    “Islamic” ideology to the rest of the Muslim world. The Libyas, Iraqis, Afghanistans & Syrias have all been living peacefully together for generations. Until these stupid Arab morons coming to these peaceful Islamic countries & spreading their extreme brand of Wahabbi ideology, which is not Islamic at all.

    Islam, or “Salam” means peace. But the Wahhabi ideology only existed during
    the 1st World War, by Muhammad Abdul Wahab in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi
    ideology spread terror & sectarian wars between the Sunnis & the Syiahs. Whereas, before this, the Sunnis & Syiahs have been living peacefully in Iraq, Syria & Afghanistan for generations.

    – DON’T BE DECEIVED BY THE STUPID WAHHABI IDEOLOGY.
    – DON’T BE DECEIVED BY THE MORONS ARAB LEADERS OF THE GULF STATES.
    – & DON’T BE DECEIVED BY THE CUNNING PROPAGANDA WAR BY THE US AGAINST THE CHINESE.
    – CHINA IS NOT A THREAT TO ASEAN. BUT IT IS THE U.S. THAT ARE A THREAT TO THE ASEANS & ALL THE PEACEFUL NATIONS OF THE WORLD.