The three F-35B squadrons and a training center were a major win for Beaufort's military community, representing some $352 million in upgrades for the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
In all, area military makes for an estimated $1.2 billion annual impact on the local economy each year.
So it's with understandable concern that the sequestration's $46 billion worth of cuts in 2013 are being watched.
The New York Times is reporting with more news for concern as President Obama's administration and the Pentagon are looking at moving away from across the board cuts to targeted reductions, like closing bases and reducing the F-35 program.
The paper writes, in part:
On the list are not only base closings but also an additional reduction in deployed nuclear weapons and stockpiles and a restructuring of the military medical insurance program that costs more than America spends on all of its diplomacy and foreign aid around the world. Also being considered is yet another scaling back in next-generation warplanes, starting with the F-35, the most expensive weapons program in United States history.
The biggest target of all is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new jet for the Navy, the Air Force and the Marines, and the largest single line item in the Pentagon’s budget. Between $55 billion and $84 billion has already been spent, but the estimates of final production costs run close to $400 billion.