Up to 6,000 San Diego jobs may be on the chopping block this year due to Navy budget cuts and a failure to pass the Defense Appropriations Bill, which will leave the U.S. Navy to work with last year’s budget.
The San Diego Military Advisory Council has made some grim predictions for San Diego’s economy. The shortfall of more than $4 billion within the operations budget will result in the cancellation of ship repairs, aircraft maintenance, and a job slash for next to half the workforce involved in San Diego’s shipyard industry.
Larry Blumberg, executive director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, said, â€œWhen you take $219 million out of the economy by the cancellation of ship availability, that doesn’t go into San Diego’s economy.â€ According to an announcement from the U.S. Navy on Friday, the $219 million cut will delay the repairs on 10 surface ships and $83 million on aircraft maintenance in San Diego.
The Naval ships that will not be receiving maintenance will include the destroyers, Benfold, Sampson, Russell, Higgins, and Gridley, the amphibious vessels Peleliu, Rushmore, and Green Bay, and the mine-countermine warships Devastator and Pioneer.
Along with the cuts in ship maintenance, three additional projects will be put on hold: the $76 million barracks, a $59 million training center, and a $2.5 million helicopter simulator facility in Coronado.
If legislators in Washington don’t come to an agreement and pass the Defense Appropriations Bill, automated cuts to defense spending will begin on March 1st. Over the next 10 years, around $600 billion will be cut from the budget. In San Diego, one out of every four jobs is linked to government spending. The Military Advisory Council said that a systematic decrease in funds would result in furloughs and a 20% pay cut for 25,000 Defense Department civilian employees.
If Congress doesn’t start negotiating for a bigger Navy budget, San Diego will see these predictions become a reality:
- A cancellation in 4,000-5,000 ship maintenance jobs between the months of April and September
- Job loss among 3,000 civil servants and 500 contractors at the Naval Air Station North Island aviation depot
- Cuts in Defense Department employment resulting in loss of 1,600 jobs and an enactment of a hiring freeze
Let’s hope that Congress settles the uncertainty of the budget cuts so that we can protect our Naval community in San Diego from unemployment and a drooping economy.