The aerospace industry, both civil and defense-related, “continued to be one of the bright spots in the 2012 economy,” said Marion Blakey, Aerospace Industries Association president, on Wednesday. Overall aerospace sales are projected to increase by 3.4 percent in 2012 over 2011, from $211 billion to $218 billion, with most of the increase due to civil aircraft sales, she said at the association’s annual year-end review and forecast for media in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 5. The forecast for 2013 is another increase—to $224 billion—but that assumes there’s no budget sequestration, said Blakey. Looking at the numbers, “it’s far too easy to conclude that the companies, workers, and communities that comprise this industry can withstand anything,” and can adapt to “any change, no matter how sudden or harmful,” she said. However, the sequestration cuts would hit hard, particularly on “third- and fourth-tier suppliers,” many of whom are dependent on just one or two government contracts, she said. If knocked out of business by the sequester, it’s anyone’s guess if they’d be able to return, since they lack the deep pockets of prime contractors that may be able to ride out the fiscal storm, said Blakey. “We should . . . begin to question whether some of the critical capabilities provided by this industry will still be there when we wake up in a year or two,” she said.
The White House announced its United States Space Priorities Framework in a document released concurrently with Vice President Kamala Harris' first National Space Council meeting. Listed among five U.S. priorities is to “defend its national security interests from the growing scope and scale of space and counterspace threats.”