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Secretary Gates' Budget Proposal Could Leave 5,000 Locals Without Jobs

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A new budget proposal from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has alarmed individuals and families locally and throughout the nation. The "$534 billion budget proposal represents a 'fundamental overhaul' in defense acquisition and reflects a shift in priorities from fighting conventional wars to the newer threats U.S. forces face from insurgents in places such as Afghanistan," explained National Public Radio in last night's broadcast.

Part of that new focus means cutting out F-22 and C-17 productions, which has consequences locally. Boeing's C-17 production line in Long Beach employs 5,000 people, 1,500 of which that reside in Orange County. In total, those cuts would affect 30,000 nationwide.

"The F-22's radar system and other components are designed by Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems unit in El Segundo. Smaller supply companies around the area also draw revenue from the program," the Daily Breeze wrote in an editorial. "We're especially concerned about the possible end of the C-17 program. The huge transport plane, which Boeing builds in Long Beach, is especially useful for humanitarian supply missions in the Third World because it can land on relatively short runways. According to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the plane has been a key player in supporting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Democrat Rep. Laura Richardson of Long Beach and Republican Rep. Dana Rohracher of Huntington Beach plan to challenge Gates in order to protect the local production lines.