BOEING OFFICIAL ASKS, 'IS TIME RUNNING OUT FOR U.S. AEROSPACE LEADERSHIP?'
BOEING OFFICIAL ASKS, 'IS TIME RUNNING OUT
FOR U.S. AEROSPACE LEADERSHIP?'
WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States must recognize that decisive action aimed at identifying and researching key technologies is critical if the nation is to maintain its leadership in aerospace, a senior official of The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) said here today.
A.D. (Bert) Welliver, corporate senior vice president of engineering and technology, told an audience at the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., that continued aerospace competitiveness depends upon timely action and an immediate commitment of national resources to technology and research.
"If this nation loses its position in aerospace, the price will be high: a loss of skills, a loss of jobs and a declining economy," Welliver said. "However, if we commit ourselves to remaining the world's competitive leader in aerospace, the benefits will be enormous."
Because many aerospace technologies take 10 or more years to move from initial research to market readiness, Welliver stressed the need for prompt commitment to ground-laying activities.
"In a business as technically demanding as aerospace, 10 years means our drive for greater competitiveness must start today."
Welliver added, "There is an inescapable connection between the research done now and our capabilities in the next century. Our competitor nations abroad understand this connection and are taking action. They are now preparing for the 21st Century. We must be prepared also."
The key to continued competitiveness, he said, is to promote a national environment that reduces the obstacles aerospace firms have in bringing both defense and commercial products to market.
"We need to make it easier to produce profits while producing technology."
According to Welliver, one step is getting control over the paperwork-to-hardware ratio. The documentation needed on any defense project, he said, is crippling.
"The impact on our competitiveness is substantial. Every pound of documentation means more dollars tacked on to the price of a project," said Welliver. "Every new specification becomes one more item to complete before a piece of equipment is reach for service."
The speech, titled "The Technology Clock: Is Time Running Out for U.S. Aerospace Leadership?," likened the current economic climate to the Cold War, when an imaginary clock was used to symbolize the danger of global conflict. Welliver emphasized the need to focus today on the nation's economic security as military security was a focus in the past.
"Today, thankfully, the Cold War is over. We feel an increase in our national security," he said. "Yet, now, the nation is focused on a new clock, one that measures our economic security."
Welliver said that in aerospace, three major issues will decide the country's future competitiveness: the need to recognize that commercial aviation technology is ever-changing; the potential erosion of the technological and industrial base as the Pentagon budget shrinks; and the growing need for vigorous national support of research and technology.
/CONTACT: Sherry Nebel of Boeing, 206-655-6123/
(BA) CO: The Boeing Co. ST: Washington, District of Columbia IN: ARO SU: ECO
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