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Pentagon issues 90-day stop-work order on GE-Rolls engine

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The U.S. Defense Department on Thursday directed General Electric Co. and Rolls-Royce Group Plc to halt work on a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter until there is more explicit direction in the fiscal 2012 budget.

About 2,500 jobs—including hundreds in Indiana—are tied to the engine's development. If GE and Rolls-Royce reach their projected peak production, that figure could increase to as many as 4,300 jobs, according to Rick Kennedy a spokesman for GE Aviation.

The Pentagon in a statement said the stop-work order applied immediately for 90-days, halting the expenditure of $1 million a day for an engine the military has said consistently since fiscal 2007 it does not want. The order doesn’t terminate the program, however, the Pentagon said.

Stopping the expenditure is “now the correct course” of action, the Pentagon said. The stop-work orders stays in place “pending final resolution” by Congress of the program’s future, the Pentagon said in a short statement.

There is no money for the alternative engine in any of the various pending legislation to fund operations this fiscal year.

The House voted last month to strip $450 million for the second engine from the fiscal 2011 Pentagon spending bill, which Congress has not yet passed.

More than half of the new Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives joined in the 233-198 vote to kill funding

If the program is not funded, the decision could have a big impact on the Indianapolis operations of Rolls-Royce, which is the city’s second-largest manufacturer behind Eli Lilly and Co., with about 4,300 employees. Company officials estimated the engine program could have supported hundreds of jobs in Indiana.

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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