Boeing’s Albaugh, others discuss aerospace jobs, related issues

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:

Marion Blakey:

  • 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.

Jim Albaugh

  • 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.

David Hess

  • 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.

Dawne Hickton

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.

Charles Gray

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.

Richard McNeel

  • 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.

12 Comments on “Boeing’s Albaugh, others discuss aerospace jobs, related issues

  1. Jim Albaugh

    •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.

    Nonsense, the United States did not have the ability to put a man into orbit between 1975 (Apollo-Soyuzlinkup) and 1981 (first launch of the space shuttle Columbia). True, with the last mission of the space shuttle transportation system completed (Atlantis), the US government doesn’t have the ability anymore to launch human beings on US government owned space craft into orbit. Even Boeing is developing their own capsule in trying to compete for US government business (i.e. launching US astronauts on missions to the ISS). Soon, Virgin Galactic should be able to launch human beings into space (sub-orbital; above 100 km altitude).

    Jim Albaugh
    •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.

    Why didn’t Jim just tell the truth:

    – that since Boeing blew the budget on the 777 by reportedly 100 percent,
    – that due to the infusion of innovation-loathing managers from MacDAC in 1997,
    – that due to a corporate culture more worried about Wall Street and the financial results of the next quarter
    – that due to a an inbred arrogance at Boeing, that seems to hold as the truth that Boeing bulids the best aircraft no matter what….,
    – etc, etc,

    ….Boeing was in a poor position in 2003 to launch an all new aircraft. Didn’t help, of course, that the company decided to outsource critical design and early manufacturing work in order to save a
    buck, or two. 😉

  2. Those who do not learn from history … do not learn from History !

    The reason the 777 was over budget had to do with the attempted simultaneous implementation of DCAC MRM and major computer data systems screwups and a steep learning curve for computer aided design in various commercial organizations.

    Add to that a major loss in 1995 of 9600 ‘ senior ‘ employees, and the MDC buyout in 1997, plus the ‘ outsource’ everything mantra early in the 2000s and the stage was set for the 7 late 7 fiasco.

  3. As a percentage the US industries have had much more “free and easy” money at
    hand than about any other nation on earth.
    But again in comparison to other nations the achievements were extremely expensive.

    Defense spending has begarred the nation while the focus has shifted to money as
    merchandise. Unfortunately money per se is not productive.

  4. David Hess is the president of Pratt and Whitney. The President of UTC would be Louis Chênevert.

  5. Pingback: Leeham: Boeing’s Albaugh, others discuss aerospace jobs, related issues | G2 Solutions News Analysis

  6. “•European nations and China are investing heavily in space.”
    In 2010, the US governement made 23% of the global space activity, the rest of the world’s agencies, 8%.

  7. Well it’s time to start pointing fingers and making sounds about the failure of others to lobby Congress and get them interested in new ideas. Past designers lack Jack Northrop, Kelly Johnson and others like them will never have the opportunities until company management stops making excuses and start designing aircraft and space craft with a real imagination and some real enthusiasm for the projects. And of course I don’t want to even get started on their marketing and the abject failures of the past few years. So let’s set back and let the Europeans build our airplane and future space craft, they will be glad too. It is also sad to say that the current administration in DC would go alone with it without a word. Went I was a kid I build airplanes from kits and some time from scratch and couldn’t wait to see them fly, kids today think if a computer program can make it look real and plausible it is, how sad is that. Lift, drag, thrust and CG means nothing to them, welcome to the real 21st Century

  8. Jay, while the US Senate is busy developing a Senate Launch System (SLS); a boondoggle and white elephant designed to fly once or twice a year, without any clear cut mission, but creating a few jobs in Florida, Alabama and Utah (last point being the most important one for the lawmakers), Reaction Engines, and other partners will be developing a truly revolutionary space transportation system.

    You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

    Winston Churchill

    • Spaceman. Hey the movie was great; you’ve got to love good computer graphics, all I needed was some popcorn. Look, I am sure these people have a great idea but the shape and physics of the space craft say no. The X-33 was questionable at best along with Venture Star and when NASA Management rejected the use of the NERVA (nuclear) engines for the upper stages of the MARS rocket it was time to leave. The methane detonation engines on AURORA were fairly good but we need a much better lunch system developed. NERVA has ten times the impulse of a J2 or F1 Lox/Hydrogen engine of the same or similar size. Solids are better but as yet uncontrollable or re-start capable. We have the capability to develop and build a better spaceship but the world economy will need to be behind it because of cost. StarTrek is great but until anti-matter engines or something similar are developed we will just have to dream about the outer planets and NASA needs to get a grip.

      • So you are a rocket scientist ;-?

        imho if you think Aurora is fully real the Skylon stuff should go
        down about as well if not even better.

        Nerva is a nuclear “spacedrive”. If you want to have a nuclear launcher you would have to go with Orion ( I would certainly like that in a movie ) or the Nucular Bulb stuff.

        Solids tend to have abysmal isp but they are rather KISS.
        Same for restartable hybrids. You won’t see hybrids for
        going LEO or higher though they may be a simple solution
        for those 100kft or even km jumps.

        For the future Reactions Engines is imho on a better path than
        NASA with building another uninspired retake on current tech.

  9. Jay, I haven’t got the time to respond as I’m off for the weekend.


    Abingdon, United Kingdom – 24th May 2011.

    The UK Space Agency’s report on the SKYLON technical assessment for which the European Space Agency (ESA) was commissioned has concluded that it could not find anything that would prevent successful continued development of SKYLON and agreed with objectives of the proposed next stage of the development programme.

    Reaction Engines will conduct an important demonstration of the engine’s key pre-cooler technology later in the summer.

    SKYLON is an unpiloted, reusable single stage to orbit (SSTO) spaceplane that will provide reliable access to space and be capable of delivering payloads of up to 15 tonnes into Low Earth Orbit (LEO, approx. 300km) at about 1/50th of the cost of traditional expendable launch vehicles, such as rockets. SKYLON’s SABRE engines use liquid hydrogen combined with oxygen from the air at altitudes up to 26km and speeds of up to Mach 5 before switching over to on-board liquid oxygen for the final stage of ascent.

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