Sending Office: Honorable Stephen Knight
Sent By:

        Request for Cosponsor(s)

Closing: March 14

Cosponsors: Knight, Beyer, Comstock, Hastings, S. Davis, Lipinski, Larsen, DeSaulnier, Payne, Biggs, McGovern, Cárdenas, Wittman, Sinema, Himes, Cummings, D. Scott, Cook, Stivers, Capuano, Costa, Renacci

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to join us in support of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) by signing onto a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies requesting $790 million for the program. Our
nation’s aviation capabilities and related manufacturing industries depend on robust and predictable research funding.

There is a strong national interest in rebuilding our infrastructure, adapting the economy to rapid technological change, and investing in our military. Several NASA programs under ARMD play important roles in achieving all three of these goals and maximizing
the potential of our air commerce. NASA has created a Strategic Implementation Plan based around roadmaps in aviation technology that are essential to the future of commerce. The next few years are critical to following through on these efforts, including:

1)  Proving the technology that will be used in tomorrow’s civil aviation and military fleets. Several foreign governments are working on quieter, faster, and more efficient aircraft that can leapfrog the aircraft designs U.S. manufacturers now build, which
could potentially displace U.S.-built commercial and general aviation aircraft and cause severe damage to our aerospace manufacturing base.

2)  Developing the systems to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into our airspace. The first country that does this will give its domestic businesses first-mover advantage in countless economic opportunities.

Other countries – notably China, Russia, France, and Japan – are investing heavily in these same technologies. Should another country develop these capabilities before the U.S., air fleet operators would have strong incentives to purchase aircraft from that
first mover, and other governments may even pass regulations that forbid the import of U.S.-made aircraft. This would be devastating to the U.S. aerospace industry, which adds $146 billion to our export economy. This is not simply a commercial industry. It
is the same manufacturing base that produces military aircraft that are fundamental to our military power projection.

Congress has recently fought off proposed cuts to key aviation research, allowing these programs to progress through their research lifecycle to the point where promising technologies and systems are ready to be flight tested. This stage requires procurement
and flying time that come with higher costs. In order to complete its research capture the full benefits of legacy programs, ARMD must have adequate resources.

The deadline to sign the letter is COB Friday, March 14, 2018.  We also ask that you submit the letter as part of your individual requests into the electronic submission system at as well.  

If you would like to sign on or you have any questions, please contact Adam Brooks in Rep. Knight’s office (, x51236) or Lauren Sarkesian in Rep. Don Beyer’s office (,



Steve Knight                                                                                       Donald S. Beyer Jr.
Member of Congress                                                                          Member of Congress



March 16, 2018

The Honorable John Culberson
Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science
House Committee on Appropriations
Capitol Building, H-310
Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable José Serrano
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science
House Committee on Appropriations
Capitol Building, H-310
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano,

As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you provide NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) with $790 million to support advancements in U.S.
aviation and the manufacturing base that it supports.

Just as our roads and bridges are vital to the movement of people and products, our investment in NASA underpins our modern aviation infrastructure and economic system. Civil aviation contributes approximately $1.6 trillion to the national economy and supports
about 11 million jobs. The most efficient and quickest way to move is by air. In 2014 alone, air carriers transported 871.8 million passengers and 64.1 billion revenue ton-miles of cargo.

That is why it is absolutely necessary we work to strengthen NASA by funding its budget with sufficient capital to pursue each of its core technology roadmaps. This includes the carefully formed steps of the NASA Aeronautics Strategic Implementation Plan.

NASA’s Aeronautics directorate is working on a new series of X-planes through computational, ground test, and wind tunnel work. This is the next generation of supersonic, quieter and more efficient, gas turbine, and hybrid-electric aircraft that near-future
regulatory and competitive environments will demand. It is time to put these technologies together on test aircraft and fly them. Currently, the United States is the world leader in advancing aerospace systems and our economy benefits from a positive aerospace
and defense trade balance that is largely due to civil aviation.  It is imperative that the U.S. retains this advantage but foreign governments are hard at work to advance these technologies, and could soon surpass our capabilities. The first nation to develop
the next generation of aircraft systems will obtain first mover advantage for their domestic industries as supply leaders for tomorrow’s commercial and general aviation fleets.  In many cases this head start will launch new industries and create millions of
high-paying manufacturing jobs.

NASA is, has always been, and should always be a multi-mission agency with the resources to push the boundaries of our understanding of flight and science, and to give us new technology that strengthens our aerospace manufacturing base. Along with NASA’s
Journey to Mars, the cultivation of a dynamic commercial space industry, and the construction of telescopes to search for the origins of our universe, the first ‘A’ in NASA – Aeronautics – underpins all of our exploration of air and space. It is shortsighted
to withhold investments in the technologies that will generate great returns for America.

Currently, NASA ARMD is designing the nation’s future air traffic management systems, to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into national airspace. NASA’s aeronautical engineers and scientists have unique expertise that will enable the Federal Aviation
Administration to make rules for safer, higher capacity, and faster air operations to boost national productivity and efficiency. Their work plays a critical role in shaping a 21st century transportation system.

The manufacturing of aircraft and aircraft equipment is a pillar of our economy. The aerospace industry employs 1.7 million highly skilled, well paid Americans, and generates $146 billion to the export economy. It is also at the heart of the world’s most
powerful air force. The scientific and technological know-how of this workforce cannot be replicated or substituted by those of any other sector of the economy. But, our technological lead in aeronautics science and technology has never been more challenged.

Sufficient funding will also further new innovations in propulsion, including gas turbine and electric and hybrid, simplified vehicle operations, increased automation, and the integration of self-operated aircraft into controlled airspace. These technologies
can address critical mobility challenges and NASA can play a key role in expediting technology introduction and maximizing safety, economic and environmental benefits, especially noise reduction.

Airplane noise is a major issue that affects many of our constituents. NASA Aeronautics research plays a key role in the area of mitigating the effects of civil air transportation noise. The funding we are requesting will enable NASA to continue its advancement
of technology in the area of aircraft noise prediction and reduction and understanding the human response to aircraft noise.

Over the next 17 years, the number of air passengers will double from 3.2 billion passengers to 7 billion worldwide. The market for new aircraft sales, parts, and services is projected to grow to $8 to 10 trillion. Eying this opportunity, global leaders
– China, Russia, France, and Japan – are investing billions of dollars into aeronautics research and development (R&D) to compete with U.S. companies.

The stakes have never been higher. We are not poised to defend our position as the world’s leading air power. Our own aeronautics R&D has dropped considerably over the last several decades, from $907 million and 6.6% of NASA’s top-line budget in 1998 to $660
million and 3.3% of the overall budget today. Our aeronautics centers are underfunded and test infrastructure is old and in need of maintenance, thwarting scientific development, stalling innovative programs, and frustrating talent.

If we are to secure our commercial and strategic edge, we must commit to continuity and budget stability for aeronautics R&D. We urge the subcommittee to fund NASA ARMD at $790 million, with a proportionate increase in NASA’s overall funding level, which
will allow progress in key investments to reinforce our leadership in a militarily and economically critical industry.

Thank you for considering our request.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Armed Services, Energy, Science, Technology, Transportation

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