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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022
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Mattis: Military Needs Sustained Funds, High-Tech Tools

Defense Secretary James Mattis called for continued, robust defense spending during a Dec. 1 appearance at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, and appealed for help from California’s advanced technology sector. If the new Congress heeds such an appeal, it will sustain a major portion of the San Diego economy. Local companies received $9.4 billion in Pentagon contracts in fiscal 2018 and that number is expected to grow to $9.8 billion in 2019, according to a recent study from the nonprofit San Diego Military Advisory Council.

Though President Trump has said he wants to decrease defense spending in 2020, Mattis urged Congress not to cut the Pentagon budget in an attempt to close the deficit. The military needs “steady, predictable funding from Congress and engaged support from our most innovative industry leaders, including Silicon Valley,” said Mattis, according to a transcript distributed by the Pentagon.

San Diego is one of the areas where the U.S. Navy and its contractors meld advanced technology with weaponry. That includes cybersecurity and cyberwarfare.

The secretary noted that other nations are developing advanced ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles — the latter able to travel at five times the speed of sound. Mattis praised the Aegis combat system, deployed on U.S. Navy ships and supported in San Diego, as a crucial part of U.S. missile defense. Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) received new funding for the system as late as Nov. 30; $1.2 million of a new $22 million contract will flow to San Diego.

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“While much remains to be done, we are reclaiming our mantle of technological enterprise and signaling our determination to achieve more here in space, in hypersonics and artificial intelligence,” the secretary said.

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