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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 its connection to accurate storm forecasting. The final report 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.
“This report demonstrates that the biggest single threat to our space programs’ continued success are arbitrary and capricious budget cuts,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “NASA and NOAA are responsible for cutting edge activities that expand the boundaries of knowledge and discovery, lead to economic innovation, and save lives. We can’t afford not to invest in these sources of American scientific and technological greatness.”
Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor and Director for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, conducted the study on behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association.
Fuller’s analysis found that in addition to threatening the jobs of many of the scientists, engineers, and technicians who design, manufacture, and operate the nation’s spacecraft, sequestration would also deal major damage to those regions of the country with high concentrations of aerospace activity, better known as industry clusters. Impacted “clusters” in the study include those in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
“The importance of maintaining these clusters cannot be overstated,” notes Frank Slazer, AIA’s Vice President of Space Systems. “Clusters have been shown to promote economic efficiencies and specialization, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and drive prosperity for entire regions.”
Founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, the Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation’s manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, missiles, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology.