SEQUESTRATION – THE WRONG SOLUTION
Robert J. Stevens, Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin, Senate Aerospace Caucus Luncheon
14 Mar 12. Following introduction by Marion Blakey, president and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association:
Thank you, Marion, and good afternoon, everybody. It’s very good to be with you, and I’m very glad you’re all here with us today. First, I want to add my voice to Marion’s and so many others in thanking Senator Chambliss and Senator Murray for their leadership on aerospace and defense issues. You’ve seen evidence in their commentary today as to why their sustained leadership is so imperative in ensuring that our nation has a solid program for national security and that we have a high level of vitality for the industry that supports that security. And we are very grateful for their leadership, particularly noting that that leadership is occurring against the backdrop of an increasing set of demands.
I want to thank also the members of the Senate Aerospace Caucus and particularly the members of their professional staff who are so actively engaged on a daily basis on the issues that are of interest to our industry. We appreciate their professionalism and their engagement. As Senator Murray highlighted, the industry has been a foundational source for driving technological leadership in America, with more than a century of contributions. It is not an exaggeration to say that our founding namesakes, Allan and Malcolm Lockheed and Glenn L. Martin, one hundred years ago on this very day, were working on their first series of airplanes. They were laying the foundation for the airplane businesses that they started, and they along with a handful of others started the aerospace industry in America. I am very confident if they and those founding pioneers were with us today, they would be very proud of what they see and probably a little astonished. But they would certainly share four basic observations about our industry today.
First, as Senator Chambliss alluded to, we’re a critical contributor to the economic engine of America, generating $324 billion in revenue across our industry from businesses both large and small, contributing 2.3 percent to our country’s gross domestic product, driving $89.6 billion in exports with a healthy $42 billion trade surplus, which is consistently more than any other sector of our economy, and generating $38 billion in wage and income tax revenues to federal, state and local governments. We are a substantial source of economic power for our nation.
Second, we are a wellspring of innovation and creativity and technological advances. There is not a day in the lives of anybody in this room or any members of our families or anyone in this country that is not directly influenced by the work that we do: the way we travel, the way we communicate, the way we explore, the way we understand our universe and relate to our world. Many of the technologies that we’ve pioneered have become so ubiquitous that they’ve become invisible in daily life. But think of a world today without the unprecedented safety we enjoy in civil aviation and in our air traffic management system; the precision with which we are able to forecast weather and other atmospheric phenomena; the connectivity and content available through advanced information technology and networking capabilities; and the convenience and comfort afforded by GPS and precision geo location tools. Our work adds productivity and value and quality to the lives of every citizen every day.
Today there’s much discussion and a fair measure of apprehension about the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in America. We are that future. We’re the incubator. We’re the proving ground. We’re where discovery lives and creativity flourishes. And our work inspires millions of young people every day. The very best way to avoid a debilitating shortage of scientists and engineers in America is to invest in the work that the