- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
August 27, 2008The next president will face significant policy choices in defense because past military modernization has been chronically delayed. In the decade of 2010 - 2019 the United States must change course or risk falling behind other global powers, according to a new report by the Aerospace Industries Association. "Defense Modernization: Today's Choices for Tomorrow's Readiness" provides specific recommendations and cost of failure consequences for nine weapon system sectors in addition to logistics and science and technology activities. It details the policy choices outlined in an earlier AIA paper on modernization. "Current events on the world stage between Russia and Georgia support the underlying premise in this report," AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said. "We can't predict where future conflicts will arise but our national security strategy should be based on full-spectrum dominance." In the Tactical Aircraft chapter, the report points out that the United States has not lost a single ground soldier to enemy air attack in more than 50 years. However, this security advantage is being threatened because over the next 10-15 years, more than 50 percent of U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter aircraft require replacement. The report notes that failure to develop long-range strike platforms could render U.S. forces unable to influence events in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, threatening the status of the United States as a global power. "One of the first tasks of the new administration will be to develop a new forward-looking defense plan," said Blakey. "This report provides detailed analysis that will help the new defense team make a realistic assessment of the aerospace challenges facing our country's national security." AIA has developed a package of 10 election issues that it is providing to the candidates and their staff. That election package and the first defense modernization report, "U.S. Defense Modernization: Readiness Now and for the Future," released earlier this year, is available online at www.aia-aerospace.org.