From: Rep. Dave Weldon
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2002
This document-and its nine specific recommendations- should serve as a wake up call to everyone who is involved with aerospace policy. The report states, ' (t)he contributions of aerospace to our global leadership have been so successful that it is assumed U.S. preeminence in aerospace remains assured. Yet the evidence would indicate this to be far from the case.'
Much of what is said in the report may not be new to those of us familiar with the aerospace industry, however, this report has done a great job in quantifying how serious the situation is and how leaders need to act in a cogent and concerted effort.
The report states that, ' (a) healthy aerospace industry is a national imperative. The Administration and Congress must heed our warning call and act promptly.' Unfortunately, the commission notes that there exists a vacuum at the federal level, to plan, procure and promote robust aerospace policy and aerospace research. The commission cites the lack of an interagency aerospace policy office, or an office within OMB to handle aerospace budgets and management throughout all federal aerospace programs. Additionally, it suggests that Congress form a Joint Committee on Aerospace.
The concept of every federal agency having an Aerospace Development Office deserves serious consideration. For example, this could be helpful to an agency like the Department of Agriculture. While some do not see the immediate intersection of aerospace and agriculture, many are beginning to realize that agriculture depends on many types of aircraft, air traffic management issues and remote sensing technologies to improve productivity-all aerospace issues.
America is woefully behind in its investment on basic aerospace research and development. Until we see a reinvigorated importance place on agencies such as NASA, DARPA, et al, our aerospace prowess will steadily decline while that of America's competitor's will rise. It must become a renewed, national priority and I will be encouraging the President to do just that.
I look forward working with Chairman Walker, the White House and my fellow Members of Congress on implementing the report's recommendations. We need to begin today so that tomorrow's opportunities aren't lost.
I want to commend Chairman Bob Walker and his fellow commissioners on this vitally important report.
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