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October 04. 2013 8:34PM

BAE Systems feels uncertainty during U.S. shutdown

NASHUA — BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest international defense companies, is already feeling the disruption caused by the government shutdown that began on Tuesday, though pay and benefits for the company’s employees remain the same at least for this week, according to company announcements.

Employees who work closely with government personnel were immediately affected by the shutdown, said Dan Gobel, president of Electronic Systems for BAE Systems, which is headquartered in Nashua. Those most affected are field engineers working on electronic systems.

“These employees are now working closely with their managers on the protocols to take during the shutdown,” he said in a prepared statement.

Other parts of the business, specifically the intelligence and security sectors, have also been greatly affected because of the number of employees stationed at customer sites, Gobel said.

“We are fortunate to have a solid backlog of more than 5,000 contracts,” he said. “In that regard, we are somewhat insulated from a direct impact to development and production work.”

Gobel said he hopes for a swift end to the government shutdown, adding BAE Systems is continuing to monitor Congress and the Department of Defense to understand the future implications of how a prolonged shutdown could affect the company and national security.

Linda Hudson, president and CEO of BAE Systems Inc., said 400,000 Defense Department workers are now on furlough, explaining that is disruptive to not only the entire company, but its customers as well.

“It dissipates our energy, threatening to distract us from the very important missions entrusted to us, and it’s hard on employees concerned for their jobs, she said in a memo to workers. “The impact on our intelligence and security sector has been significant, with about 1,000 employees already excused from work at their customer sites.”

All company employees are being paid at least through the end of the current work week, according to Hudson. Certain benefit coverage for non-union employees and their families will remain for up to 90 days, she said.

The BAE Government Relations staff will continue to voice concerns to elected leaders in Washington, Hudson said.

BAE Systems is a global defense, security and aerospace company with employees worldwide. It delivers products and services for air, land and naval forces.

The defense company has facilities in Manchester, Merrimack, Nashua and Hudson, with a total of nearly 4,400 workers in New Hampshire.

BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems has more than 10,000 employees, more than 20 locations and a revenue of nearly $4 billion. It serves not only the U.S. government and defense industry, but international defense and commercial services as well.

khoughton@newstote.com