Aerospace Industries
Association (AIA) President and CEO John W. Douglass said
converging forces in global politics and national security will
make 2002 a pivotal year for aerospace. He called for change in
three structural areas of aerospace: R&D funding, DoD procurement,
and export licensing, as ways to sustain growth in the industry.

Speaking to approximately 300 media, industry, and government
representatives at the 37th annual Year-End Review and Forecast
Luncheon, Douglass said that the events of September 11 and the war
in Afghanistan could act as catalysts to ultimately strengthen
aerospace and its role in national security and the economy. He
said the coming months will provide a unique opportunity for the
administration and the Congress to reshape the aerospace industry
and the environment in which it operates. He added that the
Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry was primed
to provide insight and leadership to strengthen and redirect the

Douglass called for increased federal funding of research and
development–particularly for FAA and NASA civil aeronautics. He
noted that although military R&D funding has set U.S. military
technology 10 to 15 years ahead of the rest of the world, there has
been insufficient funding to develop and process new, affordable
technologies to advance civil aviation systems. “Europe has pulled
even with the U.S.,” he said adding that we need affordable generic
technologies to improve civil aviation safety, security, system
capacity, and noise and emissions levels.

He also called for increased funding for Defense Department
procurement–especially for combat and support aircraft. “Aging
U.S. cargo, electronic surveillance and medical evacuation fleets
need to be replaced by commercial aircraft, modified for military
purposes. DoD can save huge amounts of money by using existing
commercial designs,” he added, “and there is no better time to
begin that than in 2002.”

He said the third area, reform of export control licensing, and
a major initiative for AIA next year, would be necessary for better
national-and international-security as well as increased U.S.
competitiveness worldwide.

Despite all the recent problems, he said, there was reason for
optimism. “This administration, the Commission on the Future of
the U.S. Aerospace Industry, and the international coalition
fighting terrorism are the right forces converging at the right
time to fix aerospace problems presented by September 11, as well
as lingering structural problems related to the transition away
from the Cold War era.”

A transcript of Douglass’ remarks will be posted on AIA’s Web
site at
by 6 p.m.