Special report looks at presidential candidates' agendas, immediate priorities, and implications for A&D
This week's Aviation Week & Space Technology zeros in on Senators John McCain and Barack Obama and where they stand on aviation, aerospace and defense issues. As the lead article by Editor-in-Chief Anthony L. Velocci Jr. states, "For many aerospace and aviation interests, McCain is a known but feared quantity, while Obama is a blank slate."
AW&ST's discussions with political advisers and reviews of public records provide the backdrop for a thorough analysis of the aviation, aerospace and defense industry under the next president. The report examines key industry challenges the next U.S. president will face, including America's role in future space exploration, defense modernization, and a crumbling civil aviation infrastructure; these issues will be exacerbated by a huge national debt and a war on two fronts.
In nine articles, AW&ST explores topics that need attention on Day 1, such as education, R&D, export controls and NASA funding, as well as looming pressures to trim defense, despite engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The issue examines the role that Florida will play in the election, and discusses the impact the candidates' position on the future of the space program will have on the economy of the state's "space coast." For commercial aviation, European Union open skies talks and FAA reauthorization squabbles will present early policy challenges for the election victor. And environmental issues worry aerospace and defense leaders, especially the possibility of an emissions cap-and-trade system in the U.S. This has implications for commercial carriers, which, while looking for ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, are being crushed by rising fuel costs.
Two articles focus on the candidates' positions and likely actions. Sen. Obama's positions are just starting to emerge, and his stance on a range of topics remains largely unknown. He has pledged to invest $150 billion over the next 10 years to advance a program of alternative energy and energy-efficient programs; he aims to modernize air traffic control and wants better aviation security; and he also wants to revitalize the nation's infrastructure, including airports, and revamp the education system.
Sen. McCain is someone the aerospace and defense industry knows well. He was Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees space and commercial aviation (NASA and the FAA), for seven years. Sen. McCain has also chaired the Armed Services Committee's air-land subcommittee, where he made a name for himself bedeviling the Air Force over its plan -- eventually canceled -- to lease a replacement fleet of air refueling tankers from Boeing. Sen. McCain also questioned the Pentagon's procurement practices for the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as for the Army's Future Combat System.
For more information, including an analysis of McCain's and Obama's advisers and an interview podcast with policy analyst and former Senate staffer Jerry Cox, visit http://www.aviationweek.com/extra.
To view a video of Sen. Obama on DOD programs: http://youtube.com/watch?v=7o84PE871BE.
To read text of Sen. McCain's first-term priorities speech: http://tinyurl.com/4mgtfc.
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