Press Release

Commission on Aerospace Delivers Final Report and Findings to President Bush and Congressional Leaders

By SpaceRef Editor
November 18, 2002
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Nine Comprehensive Recommendations for Action Issued

Washington, November 18, 2002 – At the conclusion of the first-ever comprehensive examination of America’s aerospace and aviation industries -– including assessment of air transportation, civil and military equipment manufacturing, and the outlook for expansion in space endeavors – the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry today issued its Final Report and a set of nine recommendations for government and industry action.

Copies of the report and its findings were delivered this morning by Commission Chairman Robert W. Walker to the White House and to congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.

“We have centered our efforts upon nine key recommendations that we believe begin the process of reestablishing the aerospace sector on a firm footing for the 21st century, “Walker said in transmittal letters to President George W. Bush and Congress concerning the Commission’s extensive year-long examination of aerospace and aviation issues.

“The recommendations are intended to catalyze action from leaders in government, industry, labor and academia and assure this industry’s continued prominence,” Walker said. “We have vetted our work with policymakers within (the) administration and the Congress and have found enthusiasm for moving in many of the directions we recommend.

“A healthy aerospace industry is a national imperative,” the chairman of the 12-member panel stated. “For the first time in U.S. history, aerospace companies must succeed commercially to remain viable. If they do not, the nation could lose its defense industrial base. If we allow our aerospace industry to falter, our nation’s defense hangs in the balance.”

In its Final Report, the Commission recommends that:

1. The United States boldly pioneer new frontiers in aerospace technology, commerce, and exploration.

2. Transformation of the U.S. air transportation system be a national priority.

3. The United States create a space imperative.

4. The nation adopt a policy that invigorates and sustains the aerospace industrial base.

5. The federal government establish a national aerospace policy and promote aerospace by creating a government-wide management structure.

6. U.S. and multilateral regulations and policies be reformed to enable the movement of products and capital across international borders on a fully competitive basis and establish a level playing field for U.S. industry in the global marketplace.

7. A new business model be designed to promote a healthy and growing U.S. aerospace industry.

8. The nation immediately reverse the decline in and promote the growth of a scientifically and technologically trained U.S. aerospace workforce.

9. The federal government significantly increase its investment in basic aerospace research in order to enhance U.S. national security, enable breakthrough capabilities, and foster an efficient, secure, and safe aerospace transportation system.

The full 300-page Final Report is divided into chapters that concentrate on critical aerospace matters: an industry vision, national security, air transportation, space, government reform, trade business, the workforce, and research and innovation.

“Aerospace is the spirit of America,” said Walker, a former congressman from Pennsylvania who served as chairman of the House Science Committee. “It is the sector for pioneers, for those drawn to the challenge of new frontiers in science, air, space, and engineering, and for those who dare to imagine a safer, more secure, more peaceful world.

“For this nation to maintain its present proud heritage and leadership in the global arena, we must remain dedicated to a strong and prosperous aerospace industry,” he explained. “A healthy, vigorous aerospace industry also holds a promise for the future by kindling a passion within our youth that beckons them to reach for the stars and thereby assures our destiny as a nation.”

The Commission was jointly established more than a year ago by an act of Congress that was signed by President Bush. Six members of the panel were appointed by Congress and six by the president. It began its work last November.

In examining the industry from several perspectives, the Commission held numerous public meetings, heard testimony from more than 60 U.S. government and industry officials, took reports from more than 100 invested aerospace stakeholder organizations and individuals, and carried out fact-finding missions to Asia and Europe where it received input from 50 international aerospace leaders.

Last month the Commission released a statistical analysis of the U.S. aerospace and air transportation industry showing that it has a major economic and employment impact in all 50 states and is a major force of civil, military and space manufacturing and air operations in nearly half of the nation’s states.

The industry statistical study – U.S. Aerospace and Aviation Industry: A State-by-State Analysis – examined the industry by direct employment, wages, establishments and payroll.

“A strong aerospace industry will enable the United States to defend itself, compete in the global marketplace, maintain a highly skilled workforce, and provide all Americans with the ability to travel safely and securely anywhere in the world,” Walker said, explaining the rationale and mission of the commission.

Additional information on the Commission, its members, its interim reports, the statistical industry study and the Final Report are available on the Internet at

SpaceRef staff editor.