Arlington, Va. - As negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff heat up, little attention has been paid to the impact that mandatory budget cuts would have on the nation's civil space program and our ability to accurately forecast dangerous storms. A new economic impact analysis concludes that over 20,000 NASA contractor jobs and over 2,500 NOAA jobs related to weather satellites could be lost in 2013 if the Budget Control Act's sequestration mandate takes effect on January 2, 2013.
"This report demonstrates that the biggest single threat to our space programs' continued success are arbitrary and capricious budget cuts," said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. "NASA and NOAA are responsible for cutting edge activities that expand the boundaries of knowledge and discovery, lead to economic innovation and save lives. We can't afford not to invest in these sources of American scientific and technological greatness."
Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor and Director for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, conducted the study on behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association.
Dr. Fuller's analysis found that in addition to threatening the jobs of many of the scientists, engineers and technicians that design, manufacture and operate our nation's spacecraft, sequestration would also deal major damage to those regions of the country with high concentrations of aerospace activity, better known as industry clusters. "The importance of maintaining these clusters cannot be overstated," notes Frank Slazer, AIA's Vice President of Space Systems. "Clusters have been shown to promote economic efficiencies and specialization, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and drive prosperity for entire regions."
Impacted "clusters" in the study include those in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Virginia. The report is available at www.secondtonone.org and at http://www.aia-aerospace.org/economics/reports_white_papers/.
Also released yesterday, AIA's new report, Space in our World highlights the irreplaceable ways space systems save lives and increase prosperity for everyone. The report makes it abundantly clear that we cannot afford to live in a world without capable, robust space systems. It is available on AIA's website, as well as the iPad iBook store, with accompanying videos imbedded.