AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey testified before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee November 13 regarding sequestration's long-term effects on the defense industrial base. Blakey emphasized that budget conversations have not adequately focused on the defense suppliers, companies that constitute the majority of the industrial base and have taken the brunt of sequestration budget cuts. Blakey also noted the negative impact sequestration has on defense modernization and R&D programs. "The total reduction in modernization spending over the next five years could be as high as $147 billion,” she said. “Ultimately, slashing procurement and R&D will threaten our industry's ability to deliver these capabilities in the future."
The other hearing witnesses emphasized sequestration's impact on industry’s ability to attract new engineering talent into the workforce. "We truly are in a crisis mode,” said Greg Bloom, President of defense supplier and AIA member, Seal Science, Inc. “We are not having the engineers coming in to transfer the knowledge."
Larry Williams, then President and CEO of BRS Aerospace, noted the difficulties associated with the current budget environment: "We continually face the challenges of an unstable workforce associated with a lack of stability in defense contracting. The maximum employment outlook we have is three months."
Other speakers at the hearing were: Dr. Steven Fuller, Professor at George Mason University; Lt. General Lawrence Farrell, President and CEO of National Defense Industries Association; Owen Hernstadt, Chief of Staff at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; and Rockford, Illinois mayor Lawrence Morrissey.