AIA: Bold Moon Vision Requires Stronger Commitment

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Eric Fanning on the proposed additional funding for NASA

Arlington, Va. — President Trump has articulated a bold vision to return American men and women to the Moon by 2024. We in the American aerospace and defense industry stand ready to work with the government to make this ambitious goal a reality. Providing $1.6 billion in additional NASA funding in Fiscal Year 2020 is an important step forward, but it will take substantial and sustained increases in funding over the next five years.

In 1973, the total cost of the Apollo program was reported at $19.4 billion, which translates to far more in today’s dollars. To get back to the Moon, we’ll need a proportional commitment. To stay on the Moon and eventually reach Mars, it will take even more.

That includes educating and training the workforce who design and build the systems and machines that will take us there. Our industry invests heavily in building a diverse and capable workforce for the future, but we also need federal educational programs to help make that happen. Rather than decreasing Pell Grant funding in this proposal, we should be expanding the use of Pell Grants to shorter-term certification programs to close the ever-widening skills gap. Ultimately, it’s the talented people in government, industry, and academia who will power our innovation.