Statement by AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey
Arlington, Va. — The budget released by the administration today is not a shot over the bow of the American aerospace and defense worker – it’s a direct hit. As a result of the approximately $487 billion, ten-year cut to the defense budget alone, buying power to procure technologies that fuel U.S. military strength will be reduced in 2013 by approximately $20 billion.
The American warfighter and our national security are not the only victims of this first, drastic result of the 2011 Budget Control Act. The budget released today takes direct aim at the first wave of 350,000 aerospace and defense workers who will be out of work if Congress does not find a solution to the sequestration trigger being pulled in 321 days. In the mean time, hundreds of companies that together form the “defense industrial base” have already begun to downsize in response to the cuts already enacted.
And lest we forget, sequestration-driven budget cuts will most certainly hit the FAA and NASA as well. More aerospace companies and workers in all 50 states will share the pain of those 350,000 employees projected to be jobless following a $1 trillion cut to the defense budget.
The solution to our country’s budget crisis does not lie in further indiscriminate cuts to defense that put our country at risk and will throw hundreds of thousands of skilled workers out of their jobs. The solution does not lie in reversing progress toward safer, more efficient air travel made through investments to date in the FAA’s NextGen air traffic management system. And renting Russian rockets to take American astronauts into space sends American space jobs offshore and poses an immediate threat to our country’s goal of maintaining a space program that is second to none in the world.
There is no rocket science to finding the only solution to America’s budget crisis. Reform of entitlement programs and current tax policies are the only answers to a multi-trillion dollar budget deficit. The notion that adequate spending on our country’s defense, infrastructure and future in space is in any way “discretionary” is, simply put, dangerous.
The one-million aerospace and defense workers in America are proud, patriotic, well-educated and highly skilled. As the election season heats up, current and aspiring members of Congress will face these one-million voters who demand an answer to the central question of today’s budget crisis – are those we elect to office prepared to make the tough decisions on realistic, long-term budget reform? The thousands of aerospace and defense workers who find themselves out of work this year as a result of the budget crisis will undoubtedly be the first to demand an answer.