Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe issued the following statement today in response to announcement by the Boeing Company on the future of the C-17 program:
While I am disappointed by today’s announcement, I also know we are far from the end of the fight to save the C-17. Boeing must give its suppliers 34-36 months advance notification if it intends to end contracts and shutdown production of the C-17. I consider today’s announcement simply one initial step in what might potentially lead to a shutdown. 36 months is a long time and many things could happen in that time to reverse the fate of the program. The C-17 has already proven that it is essential not only to the military, but also to homeland security and disaster response. Obviously the nation does not have the supply of C-17’s that it truly needs, otherwise, the C-17 would not be operating at 186-percent capacity, as it is right now.
Besides the huge potential hit the economy would take from the loss of 6,500 jobs at the Boeing plant in Long Beach, shutting down the C-17 could prove a costly error for National Security. Mistakes have been made in the past from shutting down aircraft production lines and we must make sure we do not make the same mistake again. Shuttering the C-17 plant means the United States would lose its last defense cargo aircraft production facility.
It is now up Congress and the Department of Defense to provide funding for what the nation already knows: we need this plane. It is critical for the future of this program to continue with a commitment of additional anticipated funding. It is my hope that President Bush will step in to make that commitment a reality.