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Letter: In defense of BAE Systems’ York operation

- Last modified: April 12, 2013 at 10:56 AM

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I am a taxpayer, the mother of a son in the U.S. Army and a manufacturing engineering team leader at BAE Systems’ York site. Our site is proud to build the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and other armored combat vehicles that American soldiers trust their lives to in conflicts around the world.

That’s why I was disappointed to read the inaccurate claims made in Central Penn Business Journal’s recent editorial entitled “Potential Bradley loss highlights politics vs. fiscal restraint.”

Facing major budget challenges, the Army plans to suspend Bradley production for at least three years. BAE Systems opposes that action. The editorial claims it’s just because of the jobs that we and our suppliers would lose.

That’s wrong. We care about our employees and our suppliers — but we will never ask for taxpayer dollars to be spent on things our troops don’t need. We oppose the Army’s action because it will actually cost taxpayers more money — and it could impact military readiness to protect national security.

The editorial stated that we are acting on a “distorted business model” where “decisions aren’t based on what the market — i.e, the Pentagon, in this case — needs.” That’s wrong. What we are asking for is to perform modifications and upgrades on Bradleys and other combat vehicles that the Army itself says it needs — we’re just asking for it to be done earlier rather than later.

Why? Because that will avert the huge taxpayer price tag (up to $750 million) that will come with restarting the Bradley line and supplier network after a multi-year shutdown. And as importantly, it will ensure that the capability to produce these critical combat vehicles will be there when our soldiers need them.

The editorial claimed that a “tug of war between fiscal responsibility and political pragmatism” is taking place. That’s wrong. This is about safeguarding taxpayer resources and making sure that the industrial base is there when America’s military needs it.

—Alice Conner

director of manufacturing integration and deployment,

BAE Systems,

York

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