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Sequestration Affects CGI, Northrop Grumman Employees

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LAWTON Okla_ 7News has continuing coverage of sequester and the potential of hundreds of job losses in Lawton at one defense contractor, CGI.

Friday, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe's spokesman released a statement stating

"Senator Inhofe and his office were just recently informed of CGI's contract termination that was a result of sequestration budget cuts. While the senator has not received official notification from the Department of Defense, the senator is looking into the reasoning for this contract termination and what can be done for the company and its employees."

The senator's spokesman said the termination would affect roughly 270 CGI Lawton employees. An official with CGI said they have not received any official notification about the contract. Another local contractor, Northrop Grumman confirmed they recently sent 24 of its Lawton employees and two subcontractors notices that they would be laid off, but said it was not related to the sequester. They also released a statement stating "Northrop Grumman is very concerned about sequestration's serious negative consequences for national security, the defense industrial base and its shareholders, employees and suppliers... and all of the communities that rely on the defense industrial base. We decline to speculate on various possible outcomes and how they might impact the company."

CEO of Lawton's Economic Development Corporation Barry Albrecht said no one knows yet specifically how the change at the defense companies will impact Lawton's economy.

Albrecht said while defense contractors here and across the country are nervously awaiting official word on how the sequester will impact their businesses, congressional leaders are working to find ways to minimize it.

"Different issues are being brought up," Albrecht said. "For example, some of the work we are talking about is supporting the soldier in Afghanistan today in a live battle situation. We are asking the question, ‘How did you come up with the solution or the determination that we are going to look at fort sill's software development?'"

Albrecht said LEDC has sat down with Northrop Grumman and CGI to talk about other defense-related industries that could be attracted to Lawton and help employees whose jobs might be eliminated be placed in a new one.

"We knew the defense cuts were coming," Albrecht said. "We need to put more energy into it. We need the help of the community and business leaders to get behind this energy, so we can bring in those new companies."

Albrecht said he isn't sure how soon those other jobs could be here, but he said LEDC is working on making sure it is possible.

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