By Colin Clark
Editor AOL Defense
Washington: America's defense companies, who rely largely on the federal government for their revenue, are trying to reassure their employees and to plan ahead should the flow of government checks be disrupted. The CEO of defense giant Lockheed Martin said in a letter to employees yesterday that the company does not plan to furlough anyone and will pay its employees.
"Our facilities will remain open. We will continue to pay you. Your benefits will remain in force. We currently have no plans to furlough anyone," CEO Bob Stevens wrote in a letter to employees. But if a shutdown drags out, Stevens made clear to his 126,000 employees that it may disrupt some company programs. "The impact of a government closure will vary depending on your location, function, and program, so your leaders will provide guidance on potential changes in work location or product, charging time, and other disruptions as needed."
A spokeswoman at Northrop Grumman declined to provide comment but AOL Defense obtained a letter from CEO Wes Bush. He told the company's 75,000 employees that if the shutdown stretches out, "it is possible that we may need to pause work on contracts that run out of funding during this period, as well as scale back certain indirect activities.
Northrop is combing through program and processes to assess the possible impact of a shutdown. "As you may be aware, many of our customer representatives may not be available in the event of a shutdown," Bush said. That could lead to work halting on some programs, especially those involving classified work, since in some cases work cannot proceed without government supervision.
To prepare for that, Bush said Northrop created a high-level team to figure out the effects of a shutdown and to plan ahead.
Boeing defense spokesman Dan Beck said his company is assessing "the potential impact of a government shutdown; however, until a shutdown is declared we won't speculate on any impact on our company or specific programs."
Launching in Spring 2011, AOL Defense will provide news, insight and tools about the defense sector. Follow Colin on Twitter at @colinclarkaol
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