Defense firms warn of job losses from budget cuts

The head of a major defense contractor is warning that he might have to lay off 10,000 workers if Congress fails to agree on an alternative to automatic budget cuts.

Robert J. Stevens, chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corp., delivered that message Wednesday in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee. Executives from several other defense manufacturers also sounded the alarm about the across the board reductions slated to go into effect Jan. 2.

Republicans and Democrats are trying to undo the cuts they voted for last summer when they agreed to a deficit-cutting budget.

Despite the gloom, a report this past spring from Price Waterhouse Coopers found that the top 100 aerospace and defense companies reported $677 billion in revenue and $60 billion in profits.