- Advocacy & Policy
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Whether it was temperatures in the high 80s or heated debates among panel members, the 67th Annual Spring Board of Governors and Membership Meeting in Williamsburg, Va. May 22-24 was a hot draw. AIA posted its largest spring attendance in history with more than 260 people in attendance, and welcoming 5 new Full Members and 7 Associate Members to the association.
This year’s meeting took place at a historic time for our industry, with our membership focused on defeating sequestration and its additional $500 billion in automatic cuts as imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The meeting was successful on many fronts, including providing a platform to discuss changes in the industry and actions needed to ensure America’s aerospace and defense industry remains “Second to None.” Last year, the Executive Committee and membership asked AIA to take on the most comprehensive advocacy effort in its history. The Second to None Campaign’s message is simple: Congress has to act in order to stop sequestration and preserve the more than one million jobs that are at risk and protect our national security.
To update membership on the Second to None campaign, AIA presented a video detailing the progress of the campaign, up to a rally held at Kaman Aerostructures in Jacksonville, Fla. on Monday, May 21.
AIA Vice Chairman and Northrop Grumman Chairman, CEO and President Wes Bush urged members to get involved so that when AIA member representatives meet with Congress, administration officials and the media they are able to say that the Second to None campaign is supported by every single member of the association. AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey recognized the member companies that contributed to the campaign, which nearly tripled from 33 last year to 82 this year, including 12 Associate Members.
Ms. Blakey also drew attention to the tenth anniversary Team America Rocketry Challenge, one of AIA’s key efforts to recruit students into STEM education and encourage them to pursue careers in the industry. This year’s contest drew unprecedented press coverage, including two features on CBS News. Check out this video celebrating TARC’s success.
The meeting featured an all-star lineup of speakers, including NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall and Export-Import Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Alice Albright. In addition, Wednesday afternoon’s session featured a panel discussion titled “The 2012 Elections and the Impact on the Aerospace and Defense Industry” moderated by Politico Editor John Harris. Pannelists included former Navy Secretary John Lehman and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson, representing the Romney and Obama campaigns, respectively. A Thursday morning panel focused on the defense budget cuts called "Sequestration, and the Latest Economic and National Security Implications,” featured Accenture Managing Director of U.S. Defense Portfolio Dr. John Goodman moderating participants American Enterprise Institute Resident Fellow Tom Donnelly, Deloitte & Touche, LLP Senior Advisor General Charles F. Wald, USAF (ret.) and Center for New American Security Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow Lt. General David W. Barno, USA (ret.).
AIA Chairman David Hess introducing Wednesday’s panel on the 2012 election’s impact on our industry (left to right: former Secretary Lehman, John Harris, former Assistant Secretary Wilson)
Thursday’s Defense Budget Cuts panel (left to right: Dr. Goodman, Lt. Gen. Barno, Tom Donnelly, Gen. Wald)
Administrator Bolden with AIA’s Frank Slazer at the Space Council Luncheon on Thursday
Export-Import Bank EVP and COO Alice Albright