AIA President Pleads for End to Government Shutdown

aialogosmGovernment Shutdown Rippling
Across Aerospace and Defense Industry

Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion C. Blakey calls on Congress and President Obama to pass a bipartisan solution that reopens the government as soon as possible.

The Aerospace Industries Association calls on Congress and President Obama to work together to pass a bipartisan solution that reopens the government as soon as possible. The negative impacts of the shutdown range from industry worker furloughs on programs that support the war fighter to delays in new aircraft certification and space systems launches.

A number of our member companies have notified us that if this shutdown continues – which is affecting all of the Defense Department’s functions involved in contracting – they will be forced to furlough tens of thousands of workers. The most immediate concern is the absence of Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) inspectors. Pursuant to DOD regulations, these inspectors are required to audit and approve parts and operations throughout the manufacturing process for military products. The manufacturing process must stop if these inspections and certifications are not performed, choking off the flow of new equipment to our armed forces.

Although the FAA has furloughed 15,000 employees, the air traffic control system was not immediately impacted by the shutdown. However, the shutdown forced the FAA to furlough all but about 100 of about 1,200 certification staff and inspectors. The remaining staff is being devoted solely to monitoring the safety and airworthiness of the existing fleet.

With only a small fraction of FAA certification engineers and inspectors on the job, the FAA will not initiate any new certification projects and will not be able to support smaller companies that rely on direct FAA support for design approvals. This will have immediate impact on small companies.

Virtually the entire staff of NASA has been furloughed, with only 549 employees out of more than 18,000 remaining on the job. This has stopped important research and development work and has the potential to delay launches of spacecraft such as the replacement of NOAA’s polar-orbiting weather satellite, which provides vital information to predict hurricanes, tornadoes and severe winter storms.

Shutting down the government has been a tragic mistake. There are too many government responsibilities, from national security to public safety, which have been negatively impacted either directly or indirectly. It is harming our economy unnecessarily when it is only slowly recovering, resulting in widespread ripple effects and a loss of public confidence. In addition, a first-in-history default by the U.S. government on its public debt would have a much worse impact on the U.S. and world economies than the 2009 financial crisis. We strongly encourage our elected leaders to reach an agreement reopening the government and raising the debt limit as soon as possible.