Our investment in these aerospace and other equipment programs represents only 25 percent of the defense budget, 5 percent of the federal budget and only 1.3 percent of our GDP – far below historic averages. These investments are not the cause of our federal debt nor, tautologically can they be the cure. The fact is that DOD is facing deep cuts of $487 billion over the next the ten years, which neither the Pentagon nor industry is trying to roll back.

And while few dispute that we get a considerable bang for the buck with these investments, the insular, inward looking, cut-with-a-meat-axe approach of some will only cede major capabilities. The more we cut back on next generation technologies, the more our rivals in Asia, Europe, and around the world pick up capability and market share. 

In bad weather, a pilot can’t get from point A to B without a good navigation system. Similarly, in difficult economic times, we can’t make good decisions on how to protect our security, grow the economy and cut the debt unless we are using good data.

Blakey is the president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association.