Marillyn Hewson, who will take over as president and chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin Corp in January, told Reuters she hoped that U.S. lawmakers will address the sequestration issue.
“I can see signs that ... there’s a strong potential that it will be addressed,” Hewson said in an interview at the air show.
Lockheed has said it may have to warn all 123,000 employees that they may be facing layoffs, under a federal law requiring 60 to 90 days’ advance notice of job cuts.
Sean O’Keefe, a former Pentagon comptroller who is now chief executive of EADS North America, an arm of Europe’s largest aerospace firm, EADS, said lawmakers were starting to get the message, but still had not settled on a solution.
Many were afraid of how financial markets would react, he said, noting that simply delaying the defense spending cuts without identifying alternative ways to cut U.S. deficits could have a similar effect on markets as Congress’ failure to increase the federal debt ceiling last year.
“It will be seen as one more example of Congress being totally irresponsible,” he said, adding that such a move would call into question “whether or not there is a commitment to fiscal discipline.” O’Keefe heads another large defense industry trade group, the National Defense Industrial Association.
Blakey said industry executives did not favor a short-term solution because it would only prolong the uncertainty facing the sector.
But she said any solution needed to tackle entitlement programs like Social Security and U.S. tax policies.