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General Dynamics considers layoffs

General Dynamics, a Virginia-based aerospace and defense company, might cut as many as 61 jobs from its Rockville location in mid-October, state officials said.

According to a notice from the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations, layoffs at General Dynamics’ 2600 Tower Oaks Blvd. facility will occur around Oct. 18 unless the company receives a new contract for the federal government’s “Trans Regional Web Initiative” — a series of websites aimed at providing U.S.-sponsored information to people living in areas occupied by the military.

General Dynamics officials did not return calls for comment on Friday.

It’s unclear if such a contract is in the cards for General Dynamics — or any other company — as the future of the $22 million Trans Regional Web Initiative is uncertain.

In 2008, federal officials began soliciting contractors to operate at least six foreign-language websites. According to the solicitation, the websites would be used to “influence foreign audiences per Government-approved Concepts of Operations.”

General Dynamics’ Information Systems and Technology group was originally awarded a $10 million contract to operate the websites.

That program has come under fire on several occasions over the past few years from members of Congress (and advocacy and watchdog groups) who do not approve of the program, which is operated by the U.S. Special Operations Command.

After at least one failed attempt to kill the program, funding was cut off earlier this year because it was not included in the annual defense authorization bill.