Uncertainty About The Defense Budget In Ohio

Dayton and Columbus, Ohio are near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB). This is the location of the U.S. Air Force’s Material Command (AFMC) which oversees all acquisition for that service. As such a large number of contractors small and large have work and facilities there as they provide support to AFMC and the various research labs at WPAFB.

Two recent articles from Dayton’s media reflect the concerns people have about Obama’s future defense plans.

First WHIO reports that MacAulay-Brown, Inc. a local company has won two more contracts and may grow so much it will no longer be considered a small business by the U.S. Department of Defense. There are benefits in being in that category when it comes to bidding on contracts but a larger company is capable of winning bigger contracts with more value and work.

Second is the Dayton Daily News which writes that many companies are concerned with the plans to reduce contractor work forces and add government employees. Nobody is usre how that will work and if the jobs will go away in Dayton and be added somewhere else. Will all the current contractors involved in acquisition the prime work at WPAFB just be absorbed into the government or lose their jobs?

This kind of situation will be faced in communities across the U.S. large and small as the policy is implemented. The direct economic effect of all this could be highly negative if contractors are replaced by government people in D.C. or another state. It might not as the contract work force may just transition to civil service. The key economic affect of these jobs is the good salaries and the spending they generate. If those go away due to program cuts or workforce restructuring the effect on a community can be devastating. Look at what Owego, NY is now facing due to the end of the VH-71 program. This could be mirrored across the country in the months to come.

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