The Aerospace Industries Association welcomes today’s release of the Administration’s assessment of the manufacturing and defense industrial base, as directed by Executive Order 13806 in July 2017.
“Guaranteeing the health of the American manufacturing and defense industrial base is a critical national security and economic priority as the United States combats today’s threats and those we’ll face tomorrow. We applaud the Administration’s focus on these issues and look forward to working together to implement the assessment’s recommendations with the same spirit of industry-government cooperation and engagement that led to today’s report,” said AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning.
On behalf of AIA’s more than 340 member companies, and the 2.4 million-person workforce serving in our industry, AIA convened discussions between industry experts and the Department of Defense officials leading the assessment to examine specific manufacturing, supply chain, and workforce challenges. In April, we issued a paper recommending policies in four areas that are essential parts of an innovative, responsive and resilient industrial base: adequate and timely budgets, streamlined acquisition policies, stewardship of key capabilities, and recruiting and retaining a talented and capable workforce. In light of these recommendations, we are pleased to see that the Administration’s assessment includes measures to: increase our focus on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other tradecraft; reduce the personnel security clearance backlog; pursue advanced technology to counter future threats; develop shared industrial base strategies with our allies and partners; and, avoid reliance on unstable or single-source providers.
Ultimately, while it is essential that the Administration focus on addressing the specific challenges facing the industrial base, none of the advancements in acquisition policy, key capabilities or workforce will matter without adequate DOD budgets. A return to the spending levels imposed by the Budget Control Act will devastate the progress made by the Administration to foster a resilient and innovative manufacturing and defense industrial base that can sustain U.S. and allied forces in a severe and prolonged conflict.
We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to streamline regulations, sustain a healthy workforce, preserve specialized capabilities and secure the resources required to ensure the vitality of our industrial base.