Brett BlumeBy Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s push for a much smaller military could have dire consequences for the St. Louis region.

Hagel announced Monday a plan to shrink the Army to its smallest size since prior to World War 2.

While commenting on the new contract that Boeing reached with its Machinists over the weekend, Illinois Congressman John Shimkus expressed his concern for the welfare of the aerospace giant.

“Boeing, based upon the announcements by the Department of Defense, is at risk so having labor security could help them to position themselves to still have jobs and still be in a competitive position,” says Shimkus.

Of particular concern for Shimkus is the St. Louis-built F/A 18 Super Hornet.

He calls Hagel’s plan “an assault” on that particular fighter jet and one that puts thousands of St. Louis-area jobs at risk.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) says these cuts could be devastating to the state of Missouri as well.

“Missouri serves a vital role in the defense of our country. Our state is the home to hundreds of thousands of active duty servicemen and women, civilian defense employees, military families, and private sector contractors. I have concerns about Secretary Hagel’s announcement (Monday) and its potential to harm America’s military readiness. We must ensure that our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to protect the country, and we should not slash defense funding in a way that jeopardizes our national security,” says Blunt.

Blunt serves as a member of both the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.


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