Priorities and politics
There's a defense appropriations bill in the U.S. House that could diminish funding for one of Northeast Pa.'s largest employers, Tobyhanna Army Depot, by as much as $2 billion.
Fortunately, Gov. Tom Corbett wisely has created a bipartisan commission to vigorously defend Pennsylvania's interests in defense. Sen. John Blake, Lackawanna County Democrat whose district includes the TAD, and Sen. Richard Alloway, a Chambersburg Republican whose district includes the Letterkenny Army Depot, were named by the governor to the Military Community Protection Commission.
According to the governor's office, about 164,000 jobs in Pennsylvania are tied directly to defense and defense manufacturing. Untold others along the supply and support chains are indirectly tied to the industry.
It is possible, even likely, that defense installations and manufacturers in Pennsylvania will be adversely affected by inevitable cuts to defense spending - cuts that are unavoidable if the nation is serious about deficit and debt reduction. But such cuts will be a matter of priorities and politics, and Mr. Corbett is on the mark in promoting the effectiveness of Pennsylvania's defense-related facilities and in mustering a bipartisan coalition to fight for those interests.