Lawmakers Heard From Air Force Secretary Michael Donley
U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) (pictured,
right) and Kit Bond (R-MO) officially launched the United
States Senate Aerospace Caucus Thursday, with a stated goal of
helping to promote a strong, secure and competitive aerospace
sector. The Caucus began Thursday with a luncheon that featured
guest speaker Michael Donley, the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.
The luncheon was attended by leading aerospace manufacturers,
industry advocates, and top military and political officials.
“Ensuring a robust aerospace sector is critical for the
future of our workers, our national defense, and our
economy,” said Senator Murray. “For far too long we
have shared in the many common problems that face this critical
sector. This Caucus is a step forward in working on shared
“Senator Murray and I formed this caucus as a bipartisan
effort to protect and advocate for a strong, secure and competitive
American Aerospace industry,” said Senator Bond
(below). “Keeping the American Aerospace industry
strong for today, and tomorrow, is crucial to our national defense
and economic security.”
In a news release, Senators Murray and Bond said they have stood
up the aerospace caucus in an effort to:
- Provide critical oversight of the U.S. government’s
aerospace defense industry program.
- Promote increased government investment in U.S. aviation
infrastructure and development.
- Ensure a competitive industrial base.
- Promote education and workforce development programs that
prepare Americans for careers in the aerospace industry.
"Whether I’m talking to big companies like Boeing and
Lockheed Martin - or small companies like Aerojet in Redmond,
Washington – I hear the same thing," Murray said in her
opening remarks to the caucus. “We need a comprehensive
national strategy for aerospace, they tell me. We are ready to be a
leader in innovation, but we need to know that the U.S. government
will be our partner in that effort. And without a clear national
strategy these companies risk becoming stagnant just as their
foreign competition flies ahead. And we can’t let that
22 members of the Senate have joined the Caucus. Absent from the
roster are Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, both
Republicans from Alabama, a state that would be home to the EADS
North America assembly line should the European-based company
prevail in the KC-X tanker competition.
In a statement on its website, the Aerospace Industries
Association (AIA) said "The first-ever meeting of the Senate
Aerospace Caucus today initiates an important forum for senators,
their staff and representatives from the aerospace industry to
discuss issues that impact the nation’s defense, civil
aviation and space sectors. We appreciate the leadership of the
co-chairs, Senators Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Christopher Bond,
R-Missouri, in establishing the caucus.
"We were particularly pleased that the inaugural event included
participation by Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and
AIA Chairman Scott Donnelly, President and CEO of Textron Inc.,
discussing defense industrial base issues, acquisition reform and
workforce needs. We’re looking forward to working with the
members of the caucus to help shape the discussion on the future of
the aerospace and defense industry.
FMI: http://senate.us.gov, www.aia-aerospace.org