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Aerospace & Defense Caucus – Colorado Legislature

Invited to the Aerospace & Defense Caucus at the Colorado legislature this week, I was impressed to see our agencies, universities, and industry participants shaping the future. At Sherman & Howard we’re partnering with Colorado legislative leadership, Metro Denver EDC, the Colorado Space Coalition, and the aerospace community to shape how our Colorado National Guard protects Colorado’s air and space, how we develop our workforce for a strong aerospace industry, and how we engage our education pipeline to develop and grow our aerospace future.

Here's what we should know about the Aerospace & Defense Caucus:

National Guard’s Space Force:

The Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs' Parker White briefed the caucus regarding the Department of Defense’s Legislative Proposal 480, expressing the interests of the Council of Governors and the Colorado National Guard in opposition to the proposal. See also, (11) Post | LinkedIn. The LP 480 runs counter to Title 32 of the U.S. Code §104 as it attempts to shift authority from state governors over to the president under Title 10. Mr. White also briefed the cost impacts, both upfront and on-going. All of us, as taxpayers, should have an interest in this outcome and in the aerospace security of our states, which largely falls within the National Guard’s mission. 

Workforce Development:

Professor Emeritus AES, University of Colorado, Jean N. Koster presented his research of 24 aerospace companies revealing key challenges we face in workforce development for the aerospace industry. Prof. Koster emphasized the importance of factoring in geopolitical issues (such as artificial intelligence, reusable launch systems, engineering student populations, etc.) when shaping future workforce development and national policies. The U.S. faces a shortfall in competitiveness and adaptability of the aerospace industry workforce. We should all strive to enhance industry-academia partnerships, improve mentorship programs, strengthen STEM programs, update curriculum to meet technological advancements, and promote DEI for sound creative student performance.

Academic Engagement Enterprise:

Amanda Mullins, with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Command, briefed the Academic Engagement Enterprise, highlighting four goals for increased academic engagement:

  1. Shape the future of the space workforce;
  2. Increase space applied research and innovation;
  3. Expand space-focused academic and analytic partners; and 
  4. Enrich strategic dialogue space.

As our Colorado Legislative chairs call for increased education of our legislators, including aerospace industry and base tours, we can shape the future of a better world through these initiatives. Let’s do this together!