The Aerospace Industries Association brought more than 100 supplier representatives to Washington Tuesday for discussions with Department of Defense and industry leaders about pressing issues they face, including reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, alleviating the severe defense budget strain caused by sequestration, and the need for reforming government acquisition rules. Suppliers are urging lawmakers to address these issues so the U.S. aerospace industry can remain globally competitive and able to provide the products and services that the U.S. military needs to meet national security objectives.
Many people don’t realize that the Export-Import Bank supports both the defense and commercial aerospace sectors. If Congress doesn’t pass long-term reauthorization by June 30 the aerospace industry could face devastating consequences including billions of dollars of lost business, and tens of thousands of jobs in jeopardy. During the supplier meeting, Boeing Senior Vice President of Government Operations Tim Keating spoke about the benefits of the Export-Import Bank to promote growth and to level the playing field for American exports. He urged suppliers to tell their story on Capitol Hill. More information about the Ex-Im Bank can be found at: Ex-Im Coalition .
Defense budget cuts implemented and looming, as a result of the law commonly known as sequestration, have forced the aerospace industry to make difficult decisions amid persistent uncertainty. During his remarks to suppliers, Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Chris Chadwick outlined what the company has had to do to remain competitive, including difficult employment reductions over the last five years and cutting billions of internal costs.
Despite those changes, Chadwick said, there’s more to do. If sequestration continues, the industry may have to close additional facilities, watch talent flee to other industries, and degrade its ability to support military readiness and capabilities. The longer such activities persist, the more expensive it will be to reconstitute capabilities in the future, he said.
Chadwick also discussed with the suppliers how each defense dollar needs to count more, which makes acquisition reform – a topic that's been studied and talked about for decades – more important than ever. He urged suppliers to work together with customers to support defense acquisition reforms that streamline how the government buys commercial items, and restore a balanced approach to protecting intellectual property rights. Both of these initiatives would lower costs, enabling industry to provide more affordable, technologically advanced solutions.