A recent Time Magazine cover story about Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), lauded them along with smart phones and 3-D printing for being one of three “genuinely transformative technologies to emerge in the past 10 years.” Now, as mandated by the 2012 Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act, a rulemaking process is underway to safely integrate UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS). It is estimated that as many as 30,000 UAS could be flying domestically in a few years. This is certainly a big potential deal for America’s aerospace industry and the economy, as growing domestic uses will add to a growing worldwide demand for these systems. Indeed, the Teal Group estimates that spending on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles—the flying component of UAS—will almost double over the next decade from current worldwide expenditures of $6.6 billion annually to $11.4 billion.
This year, March came in like a very angry lion. That’s one way to describe the jobs killing and the national security and innovation undermining sequestration budget cuts to defense and non-defense programs now being implemented. Still, there is hope that Congress and the White House can work out a long-term deal to end sequestration. As AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey stated following President Obama’s April 10 budget submission to Congress for fiscal year 2014, the upcoming budget cycle “provides an opportunity for our elected leaders to roll up their sleeves and work together on a comprehensive budget agreement that will trim federal spending wisely, while allowing for the long-term investments that make our nation strong.”
AIA has made its presence felt on Capitol Hill this year, as Congress continues to grapple with important spending and policy issues vital to the aerospace and defense industry. On February 21, at the invitation of House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee co-chair Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), AIA’s Marion Blakey testified about the impacts of sequestration. Blakey warned the panel even prior to the beginning of sequestration, “Defense manufacturers have now been laying off workers and canceling future plans for many months now because of this uncertainty.” She added that the way sequestration is structured for the Defense Department, “the operating, training, and equipment accounts – and civilians supporting the DOD – must bear a heavier burden.” With respect to non-DOD sequestration impacts, Blakey told the panel, “AIA has a strong interest in a healthy FAA that allows U.S. companies to compete globally in the civil aircraft market; a robust NASA that pushes the boundaries of science and exploration; a well resourced NOAA that provides the tools we need to protect lives and property from severe storms, and a forward looking education policy that provides adequate support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education that fuels the pipeline for our future manufacturing workforce.”
AIA is excited to announce the recent launch of a publicly supported crowdfunding campaign called “We are the Explorers: A movie trailer for our space program.” This campaign will place a promotional video about space exploration into movie theaters around the country for the premiere of the highly-anticipated movie, “Star Trek Into Darkness.” The trailer will serve to inform the public that human spaceflight is alive and well in the post-Space Shuttle era, and most importantly, it will help inspire students become interested in exciting technical careers. As the voice of the U.S. space industry, AIA is excited to harness widespread public support for space exploration to encourage new generations to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
AIA published its first standard practice for cyber security in February titled NAS 9924, “CYBER SECURITY BASELINE.” This standard provides guidance for aerospace and defense suppliers of all capability levels and a baseline of actions to follow to better protect Information system infrastructures from cyber threats. Included within the standard is a self-assessment tool that suppliers can utilize to help determine the extent to which their cyber strengths and weaknesses exist.
Hundreds of students from across the country will meet May 11 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. to decide the winner of the world’s largest student rocket contest. The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) has been captivating students nationwide for the past decade, encouraging them to advance their education and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
ICAO’s Committee on Environmental Protection (CAEP), which meets every three years, held their ninth meeting in Montreal this past February. The Committee agreed to a new noise stringency standard and made progress on a CO2 emissions standard for aircraft.
The Export Control Reform process that began in 2009 is picking up steam. On Tuesday, April 16, the State Department published a final rule in the Federal Register detailing revisions to U.S. Munitions List (USML) Categories VIII (military aircraft) and XIX (military engines). Also featured was a companion rule from the Commerce Department describing how technologies that came off of these two USML categories would be controlled going forward on the Commerce Control List (CCL), and other details about the “transition.” There will be a 180 day delayed implementation period for these rules, allowing companies time to make necessary adjustments to their export compliance programs. Links to the two final rules can be found at the end of the article.
On March 22, AIA’s Space Division hosted its fourth annual Senior Space Leadership Meeting at AIA’s offices in Rosslyn, Va. The event joined together a wide range of space leaders from government and industry to discuss the challenges facing our nation’s space community. Since space is a domain that crosses institutional boundaries as well as geographical, this meeting served as a perfect platform for fostering candid conversation amongst stakeholders.
Later this summer, AIA will launch its new Membership Resource Guide – a comprehensive publication available digitally and in print outlining the opportunities and benefits that AIA offers its members. It will not only answer frequently asked questions, but will also provide detailed information on AIA’s governance structure, councils, committees and working groups. Additionally, the guide will include contact details for AIA employees, information on AIA’s major meetings and events and corporate contact information for AIA member companies.
With sequestration and demographic trends such as the graying of the workforce having a strong impact on the aerospace and defense industry, AIA is working on behalf of our member companies to develop credible data about workforce composition, and analyze how workforce trends impact the industry’s ability to deliver to customer requirements.