White Papers

A paper that offers information or proposals on a particular issue. From time to time AIAA, sister societies, and other constituent groups will collaboratively author such papers of relevance to our common audiences and reflect our common interests. These papers may include formal recommendations of government action on the issue. Following are AIAA's public policy white papers in chronological order:

 The U.S. Imperative for Mission Authorization and Supervision of Commercial Space Activities

24 December 2021: AIAA is leading an effort to keep the important Space Traffic Management issue moving forward. We have gathered a group of major stakeholders, for example, from the finance, industry, insurance, international, legal, and technical sectors, who have emphasized the urgency of this issue to key administration officials and congressional stakeholders. The coalition members have crafted this white paper about the federal government’s need to clarify processes for authorizing and supervising new commercial activities, which will ensure that U.S. companies promote the long-term sustainability of space.

 AD Challenges and Opportunities from COVID

UPDATED: 10 February 2021: The aerospace and defense (A&D) industry is critical to our nation’s well-being, providing major contributions to our economic prosperity, national defense and homeland security, education, and quality of life. The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant near shutdown of the national economy has created a crisis for the A&D sector. As the United States and much of the world are reeling from these actions, China and others are seeking to exploit perceived weaknesses, from using propaganda to misinform regarding their intentions to buying depressed assets, seeking to dominate key market areas, and threatening military actions. The U.S. position economically and militarily must be one of strength, beginning with a rapid recovery from the pandemic. The purpose of this information paper is to 1) identify the most harmful effects that will require both immediate and longer-term measures to enable the A&D industry to return to full operations and 2) show how a healthy A&D industry will play a critical role in safely leading the nation back to a healthy and prosperous future.

 Aeronautics R&D Policy Platform Paper

21 October 2020: The Institute’s Public Policy Committee has developed an aeronautics R&D policy platform paper that highlights the importance of the aviation industry to our nation’s economic engine and our interconnectedness to the world. More specifically, the paper calls for continued long-term federal investments to allow for the stabilization and potential future growth of the industry during these unprecedented times. This includes robust government support of basic research that is often the source of technological breakthroughs fueling America's engine of innovation. We have also identified several key advancements in aeronautics and civil aviation that must be addressed to safeguard ongoing U.S. leadership.

 Space Policy Platform Paper

10 September 2020: The Institute’s Public Policy Committee has developed a space policy platform paper in advance of the 2020 election. The paper highlights the importance of our space activities and the need for continued investments in space-related federal programs. More specifically, it calls for a continuity of policies and programs to maintain “constancy of purpose” and prevent excessive cost and delay, as well as a whole-of-government approach to build on successful past policies and programs. AIAA has identified several themes that must be addressed to ensure ongoing global leadership, maintain space superiority over our adversaries, and expand the benefits of this highly technological sector for our society.

 Addressing COVID-19 Challenges to U.S. Aerospace and Defense

3 June 2020: AIAA’s Public Policy Committee crafted this white paper in an effort to identify the most harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that will require both immediate and longer-term measures to enable the A&D industry to return to full operations. This paper is the first step of an AIAA outreach campaign to highlight how a healthy A&D industry will play a critical role in safely leading the nation back to a healthy and prosperous future.

 National A&D Workforce Summit: Proceedings Report

5 January 2017: AIAA teamed with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) to organize and host the 2016 National Aerospace and Defense Workforce Summit: Collaborating to Inspire and Build the Aerospace Workforce of Tomorrow. The forum, which took place 7–8 September 2016, in Washington, DC, convened nearly 150 leaders from academia, government, industry, and non-government organizations.

Both organizations published a proceedings report of the summit, intended to shape our own strategies on STEM education and workforce development. The report includes information presented during the summit, data regarding the latest trends and challenges in STEM workforce development, recommendations for the new administration and 115th Congress, and suggestions for stakeholder collaboration to address the aerospace and defense industry’s most urgent workforce-related issues.

 FY17 NASA Aeronautics Funding

17 March 2016: AIAA joined the Aerospace Industries Association to release a joint white paper to help justify and support NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) priorities. The President has requested $790 million for ARMD in Fiscal Year 2017, $150 million (or 23 percent) above its Fiscal Year 2016 appropriation. This increase supports a 10-year, $10.6 billion plan that includes the accelerated development of several experimental “X-planes” to demonstrate and validate the ability to fly at supersonic speed over land and new environmentally friendly technologies that dramatically reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise.

 Ensuring U.S. Leadership in Space

4 March 2016: A coalition of space organizations released a joint white paper titled “Ensuring US Leadership in Space” at a National Press Club Newsmaker news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The work highlights and addresses the challenges facing continued U.S. exploration and use of space, and the need for the next administration and Congress to make space policy a priority. The paper offers sensible policy solutions to the four most common challenges that continued space exploration and use efforts face – unpredictable budgeting, foreign competition, the hostile space environment, and workforce trends.