- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
By Marion C. Blakey
Throughout AIA’s Second to None campaign much attention has been paid to our core argument that sequestration will significantly harm ongoing national defense operations and procurement of new systems needed by our warfighters, undercut NASA’s and NOAA’s ability to develop new spacecraft and satellites, make air transportation less efficient today and delay the implementation of NextGen in the future. More than a trillion dollars in sequestration budget cuts over nine years can do that to carefully planned national security strategies and government programs.
We’ve also made a compelling case that if Congress fails to repeal sequestration, next year 2.14 million jobs will be put at risk, the expected growth in GDP could be cut by two-thirds and the economy could very possibly be forced into another recession. Further, the additional sequestration cuts over the next eight years would have an equally cascading impact on economic performance.
These risks are urgent and easily understood. A harder point to communicate, but no less important, is that sequestration will inhibit the ability of our nation’s defense, civil space and aviation agencies and the aerospace and defense companies they fund to make the seed corn investments in research and development that lead to innovations that dramatically change our world for the better.
Indeed, revolutionary life-altering products developed by researchers in the government and our industry reach into nearly every American home. It bears repeating that the internet, GPS, solar cells, wind turbine technologies and implantable valves for heart surgery patients are a product of government-aerospace and defense industry innovation.
Many of the household devices, transportation and communications tools and medical advances we’ve come to take for granted resulted precisely because the federal government and our industry have maintained a commitment to funding creative researchers, whose investigations into practical concerns often lead to unexpected discoveries.
If you don’t think a long-term commitment to the kind of funding that leads to innovation isn’t important, consider the history of the U.S. automotive industry. The Big Three auto companies were the undisputed industry colossuses of the world up until the 1960s. Complacent, these companies cut back on innovation, only to be shocked in a matter of years when innovative cars produced in Japan and elsewhere destroyed our market dominance. Only when Detroit recommitted to innovation did our auto industry come back.
The federal government’s funding of research and development that leads to innovation is a smart investment in our nation’s well being. Sequestration is bad policy precisely because it would diminish government’s ability to make these investments.