- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
Viewpoint: By Marion C. Blakey
A good leading indicator of what national endeavors capture the public’s imagination can be found in the contents of news magazines’ year-in-review reports. Time Magazine’s publication documenting the events of 2012 features Neil Armstrong and NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover on the cover. At AIA, we have never doubted that America’s space programs are leading-edge investments in our nation’s future that better lives, grow the economy and inspire the American public and the world. And we continue to fight hard to protect these investments.
As 2012 came to a close, AIA trumpeted our support for vibrant U.S. space activities through a comprehensive study of space program benefits, “Space in Our World,” an AIA-commissioned analysis from George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller on “The Economic Impact of Sequestration on Civil Space Programs,” and testimony I provided at a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on “The Future of NASA: Perspectives on Strategic Vision for America’s Space Program.”
I hope you take the opportunity to go to our web site and read a copy of the “Space in Our World” report. This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive report outlines how space systems help improve our lives in a myriad of ways, many not associated with our investment in space. The report also punctures popular myths about space programs and contains thoughtful recommendations for advancing the progress of our space enterprise. You can also find the report on the iPad iBook store, filled with stunning videos.
AIA’s report on sequestration and the civil space program, which can be found both on our website and at http://www.SecondtoNone.org docum,ents how more than 20,500 NASA contractor jobs and more than 2,500 NOAA jobs related to weather satellites could be lost in 2013 if the Budget Control Act’s sequestration mandate takes effect on January 2, 2013. This report demonstrates that the biggest single threat to NASA and NOAA activities are arbitrary and capricious budget cuts.
Dr. Fuller’s analysis found that in addition to threatening the jobs of many of the scientists, engineers and technicians that design, manufacture and operate our nation’s spacecraft, sequestration would also deal major damage to those regions of the country with high concentrations of aerospace activity, better known as industry clusters, which have been shown to promote economic efficiencies and specialization, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and drive prosperity for entire regions.
Finally, on December 12, I participated in the House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on NASA’s future. Joining me in providing testimony were: Maj. Gen. Ronald Sega, USAF (Ret.), Vice Chair of the National Research Council Committee on NASA’s Strategic Direction; the Honorable Robert Walker, former Congressman and Science Committee Chairman; Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, Professor for Space Science and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan; and Dr. Scott Pace, Director of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute. To keep NASA moving in the right direction, the agency needs stable long-term investment and steady policy goals. Stability is essential to both space missions and the health of the U.S. space industrial base, which is also essential to national security space capabilities. Responding to formal questions from the committee, we advocated for continued support of NASA’s three priority goals: fully utilizing the International Space Station, moving forward with the agency’s capabilities-based architecture and maintaining global leadership in space science.
I do not believe for a moment that America is destined to be a declining space power. At AIA we will continue to press our elected leaders to assure our space programs will remain Second to None.