FIGURE 1–1 Balance of trade by industry, 1998. SOURCE: Douglass, 2000a.

  • Gather information from key sources on the status of, and issues surrounding, the current aerospace infrastructure. This would include information gathering from government and national private sector stakeholders such as NASA, DARPA, FAA, warfighters, academia, senior industry executives, and military acquisition personnel.

  • Examine component sources such as the aircraft engine industry that have been successful despite low and intermittent production rates to determine if lessons learned have wider applicability.

  • Assess whether planned acquisition programs, considering their requisite S&T investment, will provide sufficient opportunities for innovation and to maintain a critical mass of activities to sustain a highly talented engineering talent base. Use planned aircraft and space vehicle development programs, major technology development and weapon system modification programs, and NASA programs as potential information sources. Consider international aerospace market sales prospects, as appropriate.

  • Identify issues relative to the maintenance of an adequately educated, trained, and innovative force of engineering and science professionals to support the national aerospace infrastructure and on how the aerospace industry can maintain its world leadership in technology development, innovation, and product quality.


The committee collected information from a multitude of sources to identify issues and assess the status of the aerospace infrastructure. The committee examined the financial health of the industry across its full spectrum from research and development (R&D) through production and operations and maintenance (O&M); S&T talent base; key facilities and support capabilities; associated policies, regulations, and procedures; and management of the relevant government organizations and representative segments of industry and academia. The committee focused on those issues with the greatest effect on the defense aerospace sector of the aerospace infrastructure, which includes government laboratories and facilities, industry, and academia.

Committee members included experts and industry leaders with substantial experience in research and technology development programs and the production of aerospace systems, including academic R&D; industry management and manufacturing; aerospace, systems, and general engineering; avionics design and engineering; computer science; military procurement and contracting; control systems; information systems; and military operations, capability needs, and plans.

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