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Next Week, A Storm of Sound & Fury On Sequestration

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: As jetlagged aerospace executives and defense reporters head home from a frankly discouraging Farnborough Air Show, Washington is gearing up for storm of stop-sequestration events this coming week. What it will actually accomplish is an open question.

Sequestration has hardly been a quiet topic this past week, with a pointed, partisan, and unproductive exchange between Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon. This coming week, however, the campaign to stop the sequester kicks into higher gear with an almost daily drumroll of events by different factions:

On Monday, it’s the Senate Democrats: Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray addresses sequestration and “the Nation’s Fiscal Crisis” in general at the Brookings Institution.

Then Tuesday, Senate Republican Kelly Ayotte – an Armed Services Committee member and a one of the most persistent Senators on the subject of sequestration – joins with Aerospace Industries Association president Marion Blakey – a sometime Breaking Defense contributor – to present a new report on the economic damage by George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller.

Wednesday is the House Republicans’ turn, as McKeon chairs a hearing of the full House Armed Services Committee with four defense industry executives: Lockheed Martin chairman Robert Stevens, who’s been one of the most outspoken prophets of sequestration’s ill effects; EADS North America chairman Sean O’Keefe; Pratt & Whitney CEO David Hess; and, representing the smaller businesses that will likely bear the worst of the impact, Williams-Pyro president Della Williams.

Thursday seems quiet, so far.

Finally, on Friday, two top Navy officials – Assistant Secretary Kevin Sean Stackley and Navy Sea Systems Command chief Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy – will testify before the HASC oversight subcommittee on Navy shipbuilding and the parlous state of the industrial base.

We’ll be covering all these events and trying to add a little insight. It’s great that so many prominent people are speaking out in such public fora, but we’re still a long way from a solution, and the clock is ticking down.

What do you think?