Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion C. Blakey on the release of the President’s Budget Request for the Department of Defense.
Arlington, Va. — As Secretary Hagel has recently stated, under the existing budget caps we have a fundamental choice between either a much smaller military that is more technologically advanced as a result of minimizing cuts to modernization programs; or retaining the military at nearly its current size but creating and deploying few or no new capabilities. This budget reflects the harsh reality of the budget caps we are facing. At $154 billion, the request for weapons acquisition and research and development is less than the $155.8 billion approved by Congress for the current fiscal year and far less than what we need to maintain technological superiority.
AIA has warned for years that these caps will force bad choices at a time of increasing global instability in places like Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria and Ukraine. When it comes to our country’s vital national security interests we must make smart decisions. We agree with Secretary Hagel that we must be able to counter and surpass the technological advances of our potential adversaries. As Congress considers this budget, they should identify and protect core, military-unique capabilities that are most needed to defend our homeland and build security globally.
We strongly urge the Administration and Congress to take into account the rising tide of uncertainty and instability threatening American interests at home and abroad as they work through the budgeting process. Last year according to one poll, 83 percent of Americans believed that the world will become more dangerous in the next ten years. Recent events bear that out. We must invest appropriately to preserve our military capabilities and the industrial base that equips our warfighters as an indispensable asset to America’s security.