A story which aired on CNN dominated much of the conversation during Thursday's meeting of Task Force LIMA. The group is charged with keeping Lima's Joint Systems Manufacturing Center open.
During the meeting, the group discussed the negative portrayal of the General Dynamics facility and what, if any, response should be made.
This is how the story, which ran on CNN's Erin Burnett Out front, begins--
"It's a remarkable sight parked in the California desert. More than 2,000 of them. Row upon row of M1 Abrams tanks built by General Dynamics beginning in the 1980s. Most of them are still ready to roll," said Drew Griffin reporting on what the network calls government waste.
The video shows exactly what he describes-- idle tanks sitting in the desert.
He's speaking about the nearly $3 billion expense to refurbish M1 Abrams tanks at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima. However, Mayor David Berger, who heads up Task Force LIMA, a pro JSMC group, says the story is deceptive and that those tanks are not ready for action.
"Really what we saw in the CNN piece was the bone yard with parts that can be borrowed for use at the tank plant," said Berger.
The story uses testimony from the Army's Chief of Staff about proposed defense cuts including ones at Lima's JSMC.
"It would cost us $2.8 billion to keep that open... our tank fleet is in good shape," said Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army Chief of Staff.
The story blames Congress for not agreeing to the cuts. They also show a bipartisan letter of support for the JSMC signed by 173 Congressmen and blame elected leaders for not wanting to upset constituents back home.
However, Mayor Berger says there's more to the congressional support.
"If you look over the long term, the idea of low rate production actually saves the country money, and it keeps the industrial base intact for potential crisis that might emerge."
For now, the JSMCc remains funded at previous levels. However, the defense budget will be examined further after the election.