Jim Albaugh, the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is also chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association. He and several executives in aerospace plus the CEO of AIA held a press conference in Washington (DC) today to comment on the prospective cuts in the defense budget and the impact overall on aerospace jobs.
The other people are: David Hess, president and CEO of United Technologies (parent of Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and other companies) and vice chairman of AIA; Marion Blakey, AIA president and CEO; Charles A. Gray. VP and COO of Frontier Electronic Systems; Dawne Hickton, vice chair, president and CEO of RTI International Metals; and Richard McNeel, chairman, president and CEO of LORD Corp.
Here is a synopsis of their comments:
- The national debt threatens to overwhelm all other priorities.
- Risks to our national security are emerging.
- European nations and China are investing heavily in space. The US industry lags behind in commercial space markets. The country will suffer from our increasing inability to invest in R&D. Our aging air traffic control system has put America at a disadvantage.
- Already this Congress has cut more than $400bn from defense.
- Launching today a “Second to None Campaign.” This does not intend to be typical glitzy campaign or short-term endeavor. This is intended to caution Americans of the risk our leaders are pursuing in cuts that threaten commercial and defense aerospace industries and ATC. Hundreds of thousands of aerospace jobs are at risk. This is inconsistent with the national imperative to create jobs.
- Contact Congressman and ask why are we considering cuts to Defense industry for jobs and R&D.
- Aerospace really defines the 20th Century and the things we did: progress in airplanes, putting a man on the moon. Aerospace and defense is at a crossroads. For the first time since 1962 we do not have the ability to put a man in space.
- In commercial aviation, new entrants from Brazil, China, Russia challenge US. At Boeing for the first time in 35 years we do not have an active design team working on a new aircraft in defense. We’re losing expertise. One of the reasons we had trouble with the 787 is we hadn’t designed a new airplane since the 777.
- After the Cold War ended we had defense cuts but all the equipment was new. Today we’re fighting three wars and the equipment we have is old.
- Today we’re cutting $460bn out of defense budget and all defense contractors are laying off people. If we have another $600bn in cuts over next 10 years, it will get worse.
- Is this strategic for the defense of our country, for the economic health of our country?
- Investing in ATC would help our environment, our efficiency, our jobs and economic viability.
- Investing creates jobs, creates exports.
- This campaign is about more than just jobs. These are typically long-horizon programs.
- The Shuttle is retired and we are now paying the Russians to carry us into space.
- We need to inspire the next generation of children to take STEM courses to enter space programs.
- Cuts threaten satellites that monitor hurricane development. Advance warning reduces cost and threats to property and life.
- The NextGen ATC would bring us into the 21st Century. By 2025 this would bring $300bn net benefit to US economy, reduce environmental impact.
Her company manufactures titanium, a critical component to aerospace and the medical industries. 43% of business is defense.
- When we speak to jobs, we’re talking about manufacturing jobs. We expanded at a cost of $600m.
- We’ve put more expansion on hold, hiring on hold, some R&D on hold.
Employs 150 engineering professionals. We take ranch hands and farmers from the field and provide technical training for manufacturing.
- There are over 30,000 small suppliers to defense.
- Small businesses bring innovation.
- We’ve been impacted by cuts and delays in funding.
- We want to hire more people. We understand nation has to balance its books but we have already given at the office.
- Businesses like ours will be seriously impacted by cuts but nothing like the impact on national security.
- 70% of production and 50% of sales are in US.
- We’re on V22, Blackhawk, JSF, C130 and many commercial airplanes.
- Additional cuts will put our (national) preeminance at risk and seriously undermine our national security.
- Nobody is asking the Pentagon to build products they don’t need. We do need to keep R&D teams together and be ready to develop products and systems when budget allows.
- We are asking everyone to understand the deep risks to our national security and economy and investment technology.
- There are a number of companies working on airplanes in the Defense Department but this does not mean there will be the capability in the future to develop a new, complex airplane when called upon in the future.