department of defense

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A decade from now, Battle Creek could be a key component of the nation’s missile defense program. 

Fort Custer is one of several sites in the eastern U.S. being reviewed for an expansion of a missile interceptor system.

Flickr user MATEUS_27:24&25 / Flickr

Whenever there's conversation and debate about Washington's bloated budgets and out of control federal spending, the Defense Department is frequently in the spotlight.

Now as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and in the face of demands to cut back spending, the Defense Department is proposing to do just that, by cutting back on something that could hit Michigan companies very hard.

Todd Spangler covers Washington for the Detroit Free Press and he joined us today from D.C.

Listen to the full interview above.

The budget President Obama delivers to Congress this week will spend about 8 billion dollars less on the Defense Department.  That's going to directly affect two Michigan Air National Guard Bases.

The Secretary of Defense says he wants to cancel a defense contract that would eliminate hundreds of potential new jobs in Michigan. 

The contract would be for an amphibious vehicle for the U.S. Marine Corps. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was intended to replace a Vietnam era model. A Sterling Heights based division of General Dynamics is the contractor that has been developing the 40 ton vehicle.

Peter Keating is a company spokesman. He says canceling the program now will cost as much as moving forward with production. 

"We would expect our congressional delegation in Washington DC to take a look at that and in their wisdom decide if it’s something they’d like to support." 

The marine vehicle has been plagued with cost overruns and other problems since the Reagan administration.   Escalating costs prompted the U.S. Marine Corps to cut in half the number of Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles it planned to purchase. Keating insists past problems have been resolved.