U.S. Aerospace Trade Groups Are Stuck In The Last Century

AIA Talking Points: Commercial Space Competitiveness Strategy for the 21st Century, Aerospace Industries Association

"To compete effectively in this promising new market domain, our nation needs a 21st Century Commercial Space Competitiveness Strategy to ensure the U.S. is the commercial space leader for the next century. The U.S. will ensure its position as the first-choice provider of space-related goods and services by creating the conditions necessary to compete in the global commercial space marketplace and lead in areas like technology development, workforce training, exports, and innovation. Elements of a 21st Century Commercial Space Competitiveness Strategy."

Keith's note: If you read through this AIA document you'll see that this "strategy" calls for the U.S. "to compete effectively" and that our government needs to create "the conditions necessary to compete in the global commercial space marketplace." No kidding. This broad issue has been addressed for years as a result of multiple national space policies, national space transportation policies, and commercial space legislation. Its election time, so the various trade groups start to wave their arms in the air and proclaim that a strategy is needed to avert some dire situation. What is really needed is for people and companies to work within the various polices and legislative frameworks that already exist. But again its election year, so its more important to cite scary problems than to actually work to fix them since, well, doing things is harder than talking about them.

Look what is happening already thanks to what policies are in place: Russia and Europe are changing their launch vehicles so as to try and compete with SpaceX and, to a lesser extent, with ULA with Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic looming on the horizon. Why are Russia and Europe doing that? Maybe its because existing policies have prompted U.S. companies to strive for newer ways to do things. Inside the U.S. SpaceX has clearly done this and ULA has noticed and now they're trying to catch up. That's how the private sector is supposed to work, right? The U.S. is clearly in the lead when it comes to the ever-expanding small satellite revolution and new small satellite launch vehicles. More money has been invested in commercial space in the last year than in the previous 15 years combined. What you are not seeing is substantial protectionist national underwriting and interference in the marketplace such as is seen with Europe and Russia.

So what is AIA talking about? Just look at their membership. Its all status quo. Could it be that DOD contracts becoming fewer and smaller? Its understandable that this would make the status quo nervous. Yet its not the status quo that is really taking the lead in this resurgence and increased innovation in the commercial space sector. Trying to buttress old ways of doing business is not the way to maintain leadership in space commerce. Indeed, doing so is to fly in the face of the success that is now abundantly evident in the U.S. commercial space sector.

AIA ought to be pushing for what actually works in this new century and not fall back on outdated ways of thinking that echo the mindset of the last century.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 6, 2016 5:46 PM.

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