AIA Reports Aerospace Trade Surplus, Cites Need for Experienced Pentagon Buyers
The US Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Aerospace Research Center released figures showing that US foreign trade in the aerospace industry posted a surplus of about $19 billion in the first half of 2005. The statistics include transport aircraft, general aviation aircraft, helicopters, aircraft engines and parts, spacecraft, satellites, missiles, rockets, and rocket engines and parts. The raw data comes from the U.S. Commerce Department and covers both military and civilian aerospace products.
More details may be found below, as well as AIA President and CEO John Douglass’ remarks to the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment (DAPA) Panel regarding the Pentagon’s procurement challenges.
The US Aerospace industry exported a total of $33 billion in products through June 2005, while importing $14 billion. This surplus is on pace to surpass last year’s total surplus of $31 billion. It is also the largest positive foreign trade balance in U.S. manufacturing. The full release can be found here, and additional foreign trade data are available on the AIA’s web site.
Meanwhile, at the DAPA panel, AIA President and CEO John Douglass struck three key themes for improving the defense acquisition system and keeping program costs in line:
# The importance of budgetary stability in multiyear contracts (as DID has noted, a problem in the USA’s naval industries too).
# Full implementation of the recommendations of the 2002 Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry regarding defense procurement.
# Quality leaders in top procurement posts. The workforce of knowledgeable procurement officials in the Defense Department is getting older and nearing retirement, mirroring the same trend in aerospace employees in private defense companies. Aggressive recruiting and retention efforts will be necessary, Douglass said, as these people are more important to program success than any system or structure.