With the budget fight heating up in Washington, the threat of a government shutdown looming, and Congressional Republicans attempting to repeal new health care law for the 42nd time, the nation’s top military space official is warning of a looming crisis in national defense.
Using his most stark language to date on the topic, the U.S. Air Force’s top uniformed officer for space described the automatic U.S. budget cuts known as sequestration as “silliness” and warned that their compounded effects into 2015 could effectively torpedo the entire U.S. military space enterprise.
“You will break every program,” said Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command.
Marcia Smith over at Space Policy Online reports that the GOP has introduced a measure in the House that would provide some relief for NASA on funding commercial crew and the Space Launch System despite the sequestration of funds that began last week.
The continuing resolution bill would provide full funding for the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The government is now operating under a continuing resolution that ends on March 27. If no agreement is reached by the deadline, the federal government would shut down.
Statement by Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
Arlington, Va. – The President’s State of the Union address laid out much of the damage that sequestration would do to our economy and national security; now is the time for action.
The devastating impacts of sequestration are well documented and already being felt. With such a fragile U.S. economy, now is not the time to put nearly 2.14 million jobs at risk. Government workers from all agencies face massive furloughs – further crippling necessary governmental functions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have warned of serious impacts to military readiness, training and maintenance. Just yesterday, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta warned that furloughs would damage all segments of the aviation industry as well as air travelers. Massive travel delays and disruptions during the summer travel season, slowed certifications and safety approvals and long-term delays to delivery of critical Next Generation Air Transportation System components will slam the brakes on economic growth.
There are just sixteen days left for Congress and President Obama to work together to find a solution to this looming economic and national security disaster. They must deliver on a balanced, bipartisan plan to responsibly reduce deficits and avoid this sequester.
If sequestration takes effect on March 1, NASA would be hit with a cut of $726.7 million from the President’s FY 2013 budget request, with more than half the reduction coming out of the Commercial Crew Program.
“After sequestration, NASA would not be able to fund milestones planned to be allocated in the fourth quarter of FY 2013 for Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) such as the SpaceX Inflight Abort Test Review, the Boeing Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control Engine Development Test, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation Integrated System Safety Analysis Review #2,” the space agency said in a letter to Congress signed by Administrator Charlie Bolden.
“Overall availability of commercial crew transportation services would be significantly delayed, thereby extending our reliance on foreign providers for crew transportation to the International Space Station,” the letter states.
Statement by Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association on reports of the contraction of the U.S. economy in the 4th quarter of 2012.
Arlington, Va. – The contraction of the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter underscores AIA’s warning for the past 18 months that severe across the board budget cuts—both to defense and non-defense discretionary spending—threaten to throw the economy into a tailspin. It is clear from the Commerce Department report that reduced government spending, primarily in the defense sector, is a major cause for the GDP decline. In July 2011, Congress enacted a cut of $487 billion to the defense budget, resulting in ongoing, significant job losses in the defense sector.
Statement by Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association on the failure to fix sequestration in the fiscal cliff deal
While we are pleased Congress made some headway on tax elements of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, we are concerned that they could not agree to a long term solution to fix a problem no serious person wants – sequestration. We are relieved that the heavy axe of sequestration will not fall today and we expect Congress will use the next two months to find thoughtful alternatives to ill-conceived, indiscriminate budget slashing. More than 2 million Americans across all sectors of the economy will lose their jobs starting in 57 days if our political leaders fail to fix the self-inflicted wound of sequestration and the dangers it poses to our warfighters and national security.
Arlington, Va. (AIA PR) – As negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff heat up, little attention has been paid to the impact that mandatory budget cuts would have on the nation’s civil space program and our ability to accurately forecast dangerous storms. A new economic impact analysis concludes that over 20,000 NASA contractor jobs and over 2,500 NOAA jobs related to weather satellites could be lost in 2013 if the Budget Control Act’s sequestration mandate takes effect on January 2, 2013.
By Ronald Cobb Chairman, Space Coast Defense Alliance Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast
It’s time for Congress to get off the dime and take action on the federal budget. Avoiding sequestration must be a priority to avoid a congressionally induced economic calamity for the Space Coast, Central Florida, and the nation. Last year, with the failure of the so-called Super Committee to agree to $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, Congress decided the only way to cut spending was to put a gun to our head, called sequestration, under the assumption the result would be so unthinkable that surely consensus would be achieved to prevent that debacle. Yet here we are, with a finger on the trigger and Washington doing nothing to avert disaster.
NASA’s budget is facing deep cuts in January from two sources: sequestration and Mitt Romney.
If President Obama and Congress cannot work out a deal, sequestration will cut NASA’s budget by 8 percent or $1.458 billion in early January, according to a new report issued by the White House.
Meanwhile, Romney has promised if elected to send a bill to Congress on his first day in office, Jan. 20, that would slash non-security discretionary spending across the board. If the measure approved, it would result in a reduction of nearly $900 million from the space agency’s budget.
Statement by Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association
Arlington, Va. — The “OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012” released today is the final nail in the coffin for pollyannas still pretending that sequestration wouldn’t be that bad. Indeed, it confirms what virtually every expert to study the problem has found — that such abrupt, indiscriminate cuts would be an economic and policy disaster for the United States of America.
CBO has predicted the sequester would help drag us back into recession. Moody’s is threatening to downgrade the U.S. debt rating. The Pentagon is warning of new dangers to our troops. And today, the government did lift some of the veil of uncertainty surrounding sequestration, revealing what our country’s fall over the fiscal cliff will look like beginning in January, 2013.
While OMB said it would issue additional guidance as needed in the months ahead, industry needs additional details to make long-term business decisions today. From complex contractual issues to investment in personnel and training, facilities, materials and R&D, the closer we get to the sequester date without these details, the harder the fall will be.
The White House has submitted a report to Congress on $100 billion in budget cuts under the sequestration law., NASA would experience a $1.4 billion reduction from its current $17.7 billion budget to $16.3 billion.
Below are the Office of Management and Budget’s estimates of NASA’s sequestration cuts unless Congress and the White House can work out a deal to avoid them.
ESTIMATED NASA SEQUESTRATION CUTS
Cross Agency Support
Construction, Environmental Compliance and Remediation