U.S. Aerospace Commission Issues Third Interim Report Addressing Industrial Base, Space, and Workforce

Press Release From: Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2002

  • This report is online in Acrobat format

    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 workforce issues.

    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 disciplines."

    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 development capabilities.

  • 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 growth.
  • 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. 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 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" 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 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.

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