As I sit here with two TVs and a radio blaring U.S. election coverage - and of course, my computer hot wired to the World Wide Web - I am reminded by the monumental inevitability that the new U.S. president and Congress face starting Nov. 5. What I mean is, if you're in the belly of the electoral beast like we are here in Washington, it's very easy to lose sight of the fact that the next president's policy peculiarities may pale in comparison with greater atmospherics.
Sure, Sens. McCain (R) and Obama (D) have voiced some clear differences over national security policies, but as a we reported in late June, the senators have a lot more in common on that issue than others - and either will face dramatic economic and bill-paying pressures that will curb Bush's record defense spending. Indeed, by the third presidential debate, voters, analysts and journalists were already pressing the candidates to elaborate where and how they will change their election promises to meet financial realities.
Not surprisingly, we're finally seeing a slew of mainstream media reporting on expectations that the aerospace and defense industry better get ready for some harder times - and I mean harder, not hard, because A&D firms will still enjoy a robust demand. Here are, variously, the major newspapers as they individually weighed in with their own version of that story.
WSJ: Boots on the Ground or Weapons in the Sky (subscription may be required)
NYTs: Pentagon Expects Cuts in Military Spending
LATs: Budget crunch a threat to defense spending, whoever wins White House
Reuters: U.S. defense market seen facing rising protectionism
AP: Pentagon acquisition chief: budget cuts painful
As for AvWeek, we're already diving deeper for you, as Amy Butler exemplifies in her AWIN article today about Boeing's possible move to cut back on C-17 production. Last week, Graham Warwick reported on Bell Helicopter Textron's mass layoffs due to that company's loss of the U.S. Army's ARH program. And Joe Anselmo has been writing in his Market Focus column for weeks now on how A&D CXOs are acknowledging lower expectations to come after years of federal largesse.
Neither McCain nor Obama had any role in those moves, but one of them will inherit what could be a growing trend.