By Marion C. Blakey - We watched and waited last month as the supercommittee tried to reach consensus on meeting the objectives in the Budget Control Act that would more than one trillion dollars from the national debt. Then, on November 23rd, the committee announced its failure to reach an agreement, triggering sequestration and the possibility of more than $500 billion in defense cuts over 10 years beginning in 2013.
On November 18, President Obama signed into law the "minibus" appropriations bill (H.R. 2112), which funds the civil space programs at NASA, NOAA and the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation through the end of fiscal year 2012.
As the supercommittee moved towards announcing defeat, the spirits of American aerospace workers were shining brightly as several hundred BAE Systems workers followed an American tradition of rallying to protect America at a BAE Systems-hosted rally November 19. The event, the first of many to come, was at BAE Systems in York, Penn.
Over the years, we have seen numerous presidential commissions and elite task forces make recommendations to "reform" the defense acquisition system. A few of the proposals – most notably from the Packard Commission in the mid-1980s– actually saw the light of day, but the majority, have merely gathered dust. In 2010, when then-Secretary of Defense Gates launched the DOD Efficiencies Initiative, AIA was cautiously optimistic that DOD's reform efforts – some of which were proposed by industry – would eliminate "duplicative, unnecessary overhead costs," while simplifying and streamlining the acquisition process.
The 69th Annual Fall meeting of the Board of Governors and Membership Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. was a stunning success. More than 300 attendees were engaged by an all-star roster of speakers. In addition, more than 30 full members and 28 associate members were added in 2011, bringing the total full and associate membership to more than 320 members.
In 2010, for the first time, the core components of a jet engine were tested in a controlled environment, at temperatures and altitudes where ice crystals exist and can result in ice formation and accretion inside the engine.
The fourth and final joint AIA/NDIA Workforce Committees meeting of 2011 was held at Rio Salado Community College in Tempe, Ariz., Nov. 15-16. Hosted by the Arizona NDIA chapter, representatives from BAE Systems, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon gathered with committee members and other stakeholders to explore how to work together and align various Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiatives for greater effectiveness and impact.
The Transportation Security Administration recently extended the charter of its Aviation Security Advisory Committee appointing 24 new members including AIA's director for Civil Aviation Environment and Security Policy, Leslie Riegle.
AIA members were well-represented in TIME Magazine's recent Innovation issue featuring the top inventions and innovations of the year. The issue, which singled out fifty of the most impressive developments of 2011 highlighted recent innovations by AeroVironment, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, Kaman Aerospace and Boeing.