Sequestration: A march of folly

Jul. 30, 2012

It is Washington conventional wisdom that sequestration won’t happen — that both parties are just playing a game of chicken that will be resolved in the nick of time. Unfortunately though, time is running out.

The reality is this: As of now, $1.2 trillion will be trimmed from the federal budget, and companies and federal agencies are making negative hiring, investment and procurement decisions based on what the law of the land tells them will happen come January 2. Any post-election fix will come too late to undue damage already done.

And what if there…

Women ascending to new heights in aerospace leadership

Jul. 12, 2012

Nearly 50 years ago a young woman majoring in chemistry went to her faculty advisor for career advice. “We don’t expect our female graduates to have careers,” she was told. Shannon Lucid went on to take five space flights and to hold for a time the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman.

The idea that an extremely accomplished woman such as Shannon Lucid would be discouraged from pursuing a career in her chosen academic field may seem ludicrous today. But we must acknowledge that our…

Funding weather satellites crucial for storm forecasting

Jun. 29, 2012

Several years ago, when a senior government official was testifying before Congress in defense of weather-satellite budgets, he was stunned to be asked by a member, "Why are we building meteorological satellites when we have the Weather Channel?"

Those of us in the aerospace industry know the short answer: Without the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there would be no Weather Channel. The satellite imagery and data utilized by the Weather Channel and countless other reporting and predicting outlets are generated by satellites operated by NOAA and developed under the auspices of the National Aeronautics and…

Fix Arms Export Laws For Commercial Satellite Sales: AIA

Jun. 29, 2012

It is long past time for Congress to reform the current laws governing the export of commercial satellites – an outmoded and counterproductive system intended to enhance national security while inadvertently undermining America's domestic space industry, a recent Defense Department report makes clear.

Whatever Congress's good intentions when it passed this law in 1998, the results have crippled the U.S. space industry. The barriers to export have, in effect, turned the domestic space industry into a de facto arsenal sustained almost exclusively by U.S. military purchases.

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Blakey and Buffenbarger: Learning from the Greatest Generation

Jun. 14, 2012

The World War II Memorial on America's national mall has two main sections. A central core honors the bravery and sacrifice of our service men and women who fought abroad, and an outer ring celebrates the effort here at home, from the children who ran scrap drives to the workers who built the defense machinery needed to win the war. "Most historians agree that World War II was won as surely on the American home front as it was on the battlefield," according to the government's Home Front study published in 2007.

But now, both our…