Winston Churchill once said: "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." These are definitely interesting times for the aerospace and defense industries. The U.S. defense industry is evolving to meet the needs of a military force faced with the 21st century challenge of asymmetric warfare, while simultaneously maintaining the leading-edge in conventional weaponry to best equip our soldiers for combat in two ongoing wars and hopefully discourage any others from breaking out. And the aerospace industry, in its critical role as a cornerstone of national security, is facing those same issues while also witnessing the retirement of the space shuttle program and facing economic headwinds in general aviation.
In the pages that follow, we explore both the challenges and the opportunities that exist in the aerospace and defense industries, and our contributors describe methods of maximizing opportunities and overcoming obstacles. In her article about the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission, and how this relates to siting facilities, Joan Yim offers an overview of the process and significant advice for Defense industry executives. Jim Renzas explores the most efficient and cost-effective ways to expand or relocate operations in his article on Aerospace and Aviation. Jeanette Goldsmith, in her exploration of the Petrochemical industry, offers valuable guidance for industry executives. And both the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Defense Industrial Association each offer penetrating insight into the issues we face as a nation along with pragmatic and far-sighted solutions.
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