Press Release

Statement by AIA President and CEO John W. Douglass on the GAO Report on Progress in Implementing Aerospace Recommendations, and Remaining Challenges

By SpaceRef Editor
October 10, 2006
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The following is a statement by AIA President and CEO John W. Douglass:

AIA appreciates the GAO’s review of the status of the recommendations made in the Final Report of the Commission on the Future of the Aerospace Industry. The Final Report was a roadmap for the future of the defense, civil, and space sectors of the aerospace industry. In the nearly four years since the bipartisan commission issued its report some solid progress has been made, however, significant challenges remain.

Former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta and FAA Administrator Marion Blakely deserve huge credit for their initiative to implement recommendations affecting the civil sector of the industry. Chief of these is the formation of the Joint Planning and Development Office to facilitate the development of the Next-Generation Air Transportation System.

The GAO report recognized the progress NASA has made in the space sector of the industry with the establishment of a national vision to return humans to the moon with the eventual destination of Mars. However, as the GAO report points out, restructuring of NASA to support the space vision is threatening the vitality of the aerospace industry with drastic cuts in aeronautics funding, which has plummeted by 40 percent since 1994. Continued erosion of aeronautics funding will impact the ability of the nation to build the Next- Generation Air Transportation System thereby affecting the competitiveness of the U.S. aerospace industry. AIA believes NASA’s budget should be more robust to allow the agency to accomplish all the activities in its portfolio: space exploration and science and aeronautics research.

The report confirmed the continued need for substantive action to streamline and reform the export control system. While there has been some progress with the movement toward electronic export licensing submissions, greater reforms to make the system more efficient, transparent, and predictable are both possible and necessary.

Finally, AIA strongly supports the report’s conclusion, first noted by the Aerospace Commission, that insufficient coordination exists among federal agencies with the mission of promoting science and engineering education programs. This fact emphasizes the need for Congress to complete action this year on HR 758, a bipartisan bill that creates an inter-agency taskforce on aerospace workforce revitalization.

The report is available on the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06920.pdf

Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, space systems, aircraft engines, materiel, and related components, equipment services, and information technology.

SpaceRef staff editor.