WASHINGTON- At the National Press Club today, The Commission on the Future
of the United States Aerospace Industry issued its third interim report,
making near-term recommendations regarding industrial base, space and
In letters to President George W. Bush and the Congress, Chairman Robert S.
Walker highlighted the Commission's findings. Said Walker, "Our report
recommends immediate steps our government can take to address issues vital
to the health of the industry. The Commission recognizes that today's
challenging business environment has jeopardized the nation's ability to
sustain critical design and manufacturing capabilities and expertise. In
the area of space infrastructure, the government needs to prioritize its
infrastructure requirements and seek new ways to manage and operate them.
In addition, our report relates the Commission's firm belief that the
aerospace sector is the victim of an education system that needs to be
dramatically improved, especially in the science, math and engineering
At its May meeting, the Commission voted to include the following
recommendations in Interim Report #3:
Aerospace 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:
Review and recommend overall DoD policy
toward future industrial base consolidation, including its policies toward
mergers and acquisitions.
Review the long-term viability of the
nation's fighter aircraft and solid rocket booster design capability and
Congress should hold hearings to address the national
challenges in Air Traffic Control (ATC) capacity cited in the Commission's
2nd Interim Report and increases to NASA and FAA R&D funding to retain our
national leadership in aeronautics.
The Administration and Congress should direct NASA and DoD
to coordinate R&D efforts in areas of common need and provide the
appropriate funding for joint programs.
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
Based on the need to adequately fund and manage investment
in modernization and transformation, the DoD and Congress should establish
and maintain a stable, fully funded top line for DoD investment in the
Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP); increase DoD's financial flexibility by
increasing reprogramming thresholds; and provide authority to move funds
from procurement to R&D within a program.
Space Infrastructure Recommendations
NASA and DoD (USAF) should conduct a short-term
study to investigate the feasibility and evaluate the merits of establishing
a national spaceport structure at Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral AFS
under a single management system.
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.
The Administration and Congress should
reaffirm the goal of stabilizing and growing the U.S. aerospace workforce.
The Administration should create an
interagency Workforce Task Force 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"
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 Commission will hold its next public
meeting on August 22, 2002 in the Department of Commerce Auditorium. The
Commission will release its final report in November 2002.