Statement by AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey on President Obama’s State of the Union Address
We’re very pleased that President Obama is making it a priority this year to double exports, enforce trade agreements and reform export controls consistent with national security. Trade expansion and export control modernization are longtime priorities of AIA and recognition of their importance by the President sets a positive tone for action this year.
In particular, we’re looking forward to seeing the recommendations from the interagency working group that he established in August to undertake a comprehensive review of the U.S. export control system. Reforms of the system will grow high-skill, high-wage jobs, keep America’s defense industrial base competitive and sustain its ability to provide America’s military and our close allies with the best technology at the best price.
Among the notable omissions in the speech was any mention of aviation. In particular, the Next Generation Air Transportation System that will transform the way Americans travel as we replace the 1950s era radar-based system with a precision satellite-based system. It is infrastructure that is a major catalyst for jobs and should be included in any jobs bill.
AIA is squarely on the record with the facts: The total number of direct and indirect jobs generated by an approximate $6 billion investment in NextGen equipment is more than 150,000 through 2012, with 30,000 jobs generated the first year. According to our research, there are already 2,436 manufacturing, maintenance and installation facilities operating in every state of the union. Investment in NextGen will add more jobs to these already established and productive facilities.
Another notable omission was NASA and the future of our manned space program. While President Obama stressed the importance of technology and education to our competitiveness and economy, NASA is a key contributor to those fundamentals for our nation. A robust and well-funded space effort that includes a program of manned exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit is a wonderful source of inspiration for America’s youth to pursue high level science and technical education and careers. We must reach for the stars to provide that inspiration.
Finally, the President’s recognition of the need for small businesses to obtain credit is welcomed by all AIA members, but particularly by our smaller suppliers who have been stymied in their efforts to invest and innovate by a weak credit market. This, along with the tax proposals, will help small businesses boost our economy to health.
Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, materiel, and related components, equipment services, and information technology.