One of the central questions before our leaders in Washington is how to get the federal budget under control. While everyone understands that we must reduce spending and bring down our debt, the question is how to do it responsibly.
Some extreme voices are calling for massive cuts to our national security and aerospace spending that would devastate our military, weaken our economy, and force us to cede global leadership in a time of increasing threats. Moderates are calling for a more careful approach that cuts waste and gets rid of things that don’t work or that we don’t need. They understand we simply cannot afford to give away the technological and strategic advantage this nation has built over the last hundred years. Even as we balance budgets, the United States must do what it takes to remain Second to None.
This means preserving our ability to defend the homeland and deter any aggressor who would challenge us or our allies around the globe. Maintaining military superiority ensures we can act with speed and strength when our interests demand it. Air superiority provides an effective alternative to ground troops in many potential conflicts, such as the Libya operation currently underway, keeping our troops safe from enemy air action when they must deploy.
Funding world-leading research and development is critical to remaining Second To None. Tomorrow’s wars will be fought with tomorrow’s technologies and the nation that invents and produces them first will have a potentially unmatchable edge. That must be us.
Being Second To None also means we must have a strong domestic economy that develops, produces, and exports cutting-edge goods. Innovation and technological progress driven by aerospace and defense is critical to leading the world in the coming century, and our air transportation system must be strong, safe, and efficient for the growing number of travelers who are taking to the skies.
Meanwhile, our legacy in space since the workhorse shuttle fleet is retiring may be at risk. NASA requires funding to follow through on a new path forward – developing new commercial crew capabilities while NASA focuses on deep-space exploration.
Industrywide, aerospace contribute billions to our economy, employing more than 1 million workers in all fifty states and supporting more than 3.5 million related jobs.
U.S. aerospace and defense workers are the best in the world, and we need a national fiscal policy that allows them to remain Second To None. During past rounds of budget cutting, insufficient attention was paid to the long-term costs of shutting down key infrastructure and losing workers and the irreplaceable capabilities they represent.
Tomorrow’s generation of workers, scientists and engineers are looking to this generation to provide the inspiration, programs and opportunities that will keep us Second to None. Innovation and education are the backbone of aerospace and defense and our country’s competitiveness.
Second To None is a public education and action campaign funded by the Aerospace Industries Association and supported by firms and individuals concerned about ensuring that U.S. aerospace and defense continues to lead the world.