Statement by AIA President and CEO Dave Melcher on recent DOD comments regarding mergers and consolidation
Arlington, Va. — Consolidation is market-driven and enhances the efficiency with which we deliver the world’s best equipment to the American warfighter. To encourage competition and a healthy and strong industrial base, we need stable, predictable and sufficient budgets to support our national security strategies. We urge Congress to overturn the Budget Control Act caps, enact a budget deal that supports investment in American capability and return to a budgeting process that promotes stability and predictability in contract awards.
Appeared in the Sept. 14, 2015 edition of Defense News, on page 37. By John J. Hamre and David F. Melcher.
Shutting down Ex-Im would also threaten American national security interests. American aerospace and defense companies have relied on overseas markets, particularly commercial markets serviced by Ex-Im loans, to keep the defense industrial base healthy as U.S. defense spending has declined. Without Ex-Im, U.S. industrial production will decline, with fewer revenue and jobs throughout the aerospace and defense supply chain, leading to higher unit costs for the military systems our armed forces buy. The same dynamic occurred in the shipbuilding sector in the 1980s with devastating results that continue to be felt today.
It’s been clear ever since the downturn in defense spending began that our industry would have to develop new approaches to protecting the national asset that is our defense industrial base. One such approach is to grow our industries’ markets overseas. In recent years, we’ve seen gratifying advances in U.S. sales abroad of civil-related aircraft, helicopters, satellites and launch vehicles. That said, I’m convinced we can do more on the civil side and there are ways for the U.S. to become even more competitive with defense-related exports, which in turn will bolster our nation’s national security, foreign policy and economic interests.
This February, AIA and its member companies participated in the 2014 Singapore Air Show. This year's event -the largest air show in Asia- was held at the Changhi Exhibition Centre. The United States' aircraft corral supported by AIA displayed a P-8 Poseidon, an MV-22B Osprey, a C-17 Globemaster, a KC-130J Hercules, and a KC-135R Stratotanker. The C-17, MV-22B, and an F-16C participated in the flying displays.
On April 1, 2014, Aerospace Caucus co-chairs, Senators Patty Murray and Saxby Chambliss, hosted an event on the importance of defense research and development (R&D) on innovation. The event featured Dr. Arati Prabhakar the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), who spoke to the innovations that have entered the commercial marketplace because of defense R&D investments.