Large and small suppliers from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C. on April 24 to meet with their members of Congress to discuss the U.S. Army’s current funding plan, which would force a complete shutdown of the Bradley industrial base for at least three years starting in 2014. Their message to lawmakers – a shutdown will result in serious consequences for the Army, our business, our employees and our regional economies.
The companies represent more than 500 large, medium and small businesses from the Bradley industrial base that comprise a production and supply chain network, which works with the U.S. government to maintain the readiness of four of the five Armored Brigade Combat vehicles used by the U.S. Army, notably the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The primary hub for the industrial base is BAE Systems’ manufacturing facility in York, Pennsylvania.
Addressing a gathering of the suppliers, Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems’ Land & Armaments sector, said, “a forced closure of the Bradley industrial base will cost more long term than keeping it active at reduced levels. There are thousands of skilled jobs and hundreds of business across the country at risk, as well as the readiness of our Army and our soldiers. All suffer with the closing of the Bradley industrial base.”
Jeff Adams of AMZ Corporation in Pennsylvania stated, “We are very proud of our company’s contribution to the production and maintenance of the Bradley vehicle. But during these difficult economic times, we cannot maintain the skilled workers and equipment needed if the U.S. Army shuts down production and we don’t have any orders to fill. With the help of Congress we can make sure that our skilled workforce continues to meet the needs of the U.S. military.”
Will Donnellan of the First Electronics Corporation in Massachusetts warned that a shut down will mean lay-offs and the need to reinvest resources into other lines of work. “Our business cannot afford to stop and start work. Uncertainty does not enable us to make the plans required to invest in the machinery and skills needed to provide the parts we supply for the Bradley,” Donnellan stated.
As an alternative to a Bradley line shutdown, BAE Systems and the supplier base companies urged that Congress direct the U.S. Army to accelerate the start of required upgrades to 93 Bradleys currently scheduled for fiscal year 2015 and 2016. Using funding approved for these conversions will enable the Army to more quickly meet its needs for fully modernized vehicles while supporting the combat vehicle industrial base.
A shutdown could potentially eliminate more than 7,000 jobs, negatively impact each of the industrial base’s almost 600 businesses in 44 states and the District of Columbia, and reduce the ability to maintain and support the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, an integral part of U.S. Army operations that is forecasted to serve the ABCTs until at least 2045.
To learn more about the economic benefits of preserving the Bradley industrial base, visit www.baesystems.com/bradleyindustrialbase.