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U.S. Aerospace Commission Votes to Issue Third Interim Report Addressing Industrial Base, Space, and Workforce

Press Release From: Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2002

WASHINGTON- During its third public meeting, the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry voted to issue its third interim report to address issues of immediate importance to the industry. The Commission voted to include several near-term recommendations regarding industrial base, space and workforce issues.

Chairman Robert S. Walker stated, "Our third interim report will address stepping stones toward a final report that will positively impact the long-term outlook of the industry. This is not, however, our final word on the enormous challenges facing the aerospace industry now and in the future. Our final report will focus on the vision and actions necessary to ensure a vibrant future for U.S. aerospace."

The Commission received testimony from industry and government representatives, as well as educators and students. Commissioner John Douglass led the discussion on industrial base issues with input on investment policy from Commissioners Bob Stevens and Heidi Wood. Space discussions were spearheaded by Commissioners Buzz Aldrin and Neil deGrasse Tyson, while Commissioners Tom Buffenbarger and Tillie Fowler led the workforce discussions. At the meeting's conclusion, the Commission decided tef="lease an interim report based on the following proposed draft recommendations:

Industrial Base Recommendations

The Commission recommends the following actions be taken to address several areas of concern during Congressional deliberations in the current budget cycle and the Administration's preparation for the FY2004 budget:

  • The Secretary of Defense should task the Defense Science Board with the following tasks:
  •    * Review the industrial base, workforce and industry consolidation policy challenges    * Review the long-term viability of the nation's fighter aircraft and solid rocket booster development design capability.

  • The Administration and Congress should encourage NASA and DoD to coordinate R&D efforts in areas of common need and provide the appropriate funding support to do so.
  • Congress should hold hearings to address the national challenges in Air Traffic Control (ATC) capacity cited in the Commission's 2nd Interim Report and NASA and FAA R&D funding.
  • The President should ensure that a new FAA Administrator be recruited without delay to replace the currently retiring Administrator and assign him/her a mandate to achieve substantial long-term ATC capacity growth.
  • Based on the need to adequately fund and manage investment in modernization and transformation, the DoD and Congress should establish and maintain a fully funded top line for DoD investment in the Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP).
  • Space Recommendations

  • NASA and DoD (USAF) should complete a short-term study to investigate the feasibility and evaluate the merits of establishing a federal spaceport at Kennedy Space Center.
  • Congress should approve an enhanced leasing authority bill that allows NASA and DoD to lease real property at fair market value and retain lease proceeds to cover the total costs incurred in supporting the development and operation of the facilities.
  • Congress should grant NASA utility privatization authority. This legislation should grant the individual organizations the widest and most flexible interpretation and authority.
  • Workforce Recommendations

  • The Administration and Congress should reaffirm the goal of stabilizing and growing the U.S. aerospace workforce.
  • The Administration should create an interagency Workforce Taskforce from the Departments of Labor, Commerce, Education and other government agencies, as required, to respond to long-term industry workforce and training needs
  • The Administration should develop the Aerospace Industry Promotion (AIP), program for schools and community colleges to attract public attention to the importance and opportunities within the aerospace industry.
  • Congress should propose tax credits for employers who invest in the skills and training of the workforce for employees enrolled in registered apprenticeship programs and other occupational training that meet the needs identified by industry.
  • The Administration and Congress should make long-term investments to keep the American aerospace workforce "pipeline" filled.
  • The Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry is a congressionally mandated commission, as established in Section 1092 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, Public Law 106-398. The Commission was formed to study the future of the United States aerospace industry in the global economy, particularly in relationship to United States national security; and to assess the future importance of the domestic aerospace industry for the economic and national security of the United States. The next public meeting of the Commission will be held August 22, 2002 in the Department of Commerce Auditorium. The Commission's final report will be released in November 2002.

    www.aerospacecommission.gov

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