Rep. Harper rips defense cuts in Meridian

U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper toured a Mississippi Lockheed Martin plant Tuesday and said a Pentagon plan to cut missile defense spending could be bad for national security and the economy.

The Mississippi Republican’s visit to the Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian came a day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended sweeping changes to military spending, including halting production of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet.

About 20 people at the Meridian plant work on the vertical stabilizers — a part of the tail section — of the F-22, said company spokesman Rob Fuller.

Harper said it’s “a horrible idea to cut missile defense by $1.4 billion” when countries like North Korea and Iran are potential threats.

The AP, via The Clarion-Ledger 4/7/9