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ARMS CUTS WON’T CRIMP THIOKOL, CHIEF SAYS

SHARE ARMS CUTS WON’T CRIMP THIOKOL, CHIEF SAYS

Events in Eastern Europe probably will result in reduction of some strategic and tactical weapons systems, which could affect Thiokol Corp., but the company has other programs that will keep it a big contributor of Utah's economy.

That assessment of Thiokol comes from U. Edwin Garrison, president and chief executive officer of the Ogden-based company that has an annual payroll of $260 million.Garrison, who became Thiokol president last July, told members of the Wasatch Front Economic Forum in the Marriott Hotel there are varying ideas in Congress on what the United States should do now that communism is losing its dominance in eastern Europe.

Some people want the defense budget cut drastically by eliminating many programs, while others want only small parts removed, Garrison said. Regardless of who wins, Garrison believes Thiokol will remain strong even after anticipated reductions because of its varied programs.

Even though the Soviet Union may be in financial trouble now, the country could pose a threat in the future after the money problems are solved because the Soviets still have 7,000 missiles with warheads. And because some Middle East leaders are making threats, there still is a need for the United States to remain strong militarily.

Garrison expects some reductions in tactical and strategic weapons, but even those slowdowns won't occur for one or two years after things settle down in Eastern Europe.

He said the company has a good future in space because 40-45 percent of Thiokol's sales come from the space program, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has an ambitious program outlined for several years.