Defense strategy for the country could have local impact

Amarillo, TX - The President's proposed defense strategy for our country could have a major impact locally.

Cuts could be made to our military, weapons and equipment.

President Obama rolled out his defense strategy that would cut $500-billion at the Pentagon last week.

Now Area Congressman Mac Thornberry is speaking out about the plan that will determine our defense budget for the next several years.

Congressman Thornberry is making his way around the high plains to spread a message.

"I want to make sure one eye is looking on how this affects us and the 13th district and it's Sheppard, Pantex and Bell, those are the three defense related entities that we have. So I'm asking what they're hearing and how they're doing, " says U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-13th District.

Many people in our area are concerned with what type of impact this could have locally.

"The indications are that we could see reductions in the Army and the Marine Corps in total number of troops. Although, all the numbers in reductions in the Marine Corps that have been talked about would have no affect on the Bell programs," says U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-13th District.

There could also be an attempt to cut pay and benefits for those in the military.

"If you're going to change something it needs to be for people just coming in, not for people already in," says U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-13th District.

Other changes could affect Bell Helicopter.

"Worst case scenario is that there would be some decision to stretch out the buy of aircraft over a longer period of time. Now the problem with that is when you do it, each one costs more to buy," says U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-13th District.

But he says he's working to lead us in the right direction.

"So whatever they propose to us in a few weeks, it's going to get a bright light of inquiry to understand the consequences of it," says U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-13th District.

Although the proposed budget is a controversial issue, others remain hopeful.

"We are encouraged that the aircraft we use are demanded in the field. They're performing well, the commanders want them and they're performing in operations," says Robert Hastings, Senior Vice President of Bell Helicopter.

Thornberry says the best is being done with a tight situation.

"I think we are in as good as shape as we could possibly be," says U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-13th District.