Big 3 defense contractors feel axe of 1,000 cuts

Nearly 1,000 workers throughout the Washington, D.C., region will be let go by large defense contractors by the end of July, including those who already were laid off in April, reports the Washington Examiner.

The reason for the layoffs is the government’s sweeping five-year, $150 billion in defense cuts announced in January, the newspaper said.

The companies affected include General Dynamics' unit in Woodbridge, Va., which will cut 112 jobs; Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Baltimore-area offices, with 200 jobs cut and 600 voluntary buyouts; and Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Alexandria, Va., location, which is cutting 45 jobs. As the Baltimore Sun reported recently, Northrop Grumman had to opt for cuts because the company didn't get enough employees to accept a voluntary buyout.

The downturn has been on the horizon for a while this year. In March, we surveyed readers, who expressed concerns related to the chaos created by the shutdown threat, which wasn't resolved until mid-April. According to our poll, 28 percent of respondents expected layoffs if the government shut down. As it turns out, layoffs have become inevitable for some companies.

Although the government avoided a potentially crippling shutdown, the damage was already done. "After this, I don't think there will be a 'business as usual' for a while," Robert Guerra, partner at consulting firm Guerra Kiviat, told Washington Technology in April. "This entire situation kind of makes the idea that there is security in working for the government no longer a factor for quite a while."

The belt-tightening at the Defense Department is affecting companies outside the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, too. Raytheon Co. intends to lay off about 160 employees at the company's facility in Goleta, Calif., which is another hot spot for defense integrator operations, writes the Pacific Coast Business Times' Stephen Nellis. Teledyne Technologies Inc. and United Technologies Corp. also have units based in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties in California.

Those companies form a who's who of the Washington Technology Top 100 list of government contractors. Lockeed Martin ranks No. 1, Northrop Grumman No. 2, Raytheon No. 4, General Dynamics No. 6 and United Technologies No. 21.