Pittsburgh Business Times reports that the changing missions in Iraq and Afgahanistan, coupled with discussions in Washington about creating a budgetary-minded culture in the Department of Defense, are signaling the start of leaner times for many military contractors. Already, two area companies that work on overhauling or remanufacturing military ground vehicles have announced more than 200 layoffs, partly due to the reduction of combat forces in Iraq. Executives at several other companies say those working in the defense industry have to be prepared for anything, though they hope their contracts will be spared. Looking at recent comments from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, it appears the department will be focusing on cutting overhead and staff, not deep reductions in weapons programs, Martinelli said. His firm works on optical components for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance products or improving capabilities of aircraft. In fact, as the recession took hold, military work blunted some of the big cuts the company made. From June 2008 to June 2009, II-VI cut 400 employees, bringing its worldwide head count to 2,000. Some of the work force at the Saxonburg facility was able to move into military work when commercial and industrial work dropped. Now that industrial work is starting to tick up, the company actually has 30 to 40 job openings.

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