THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 26 March 2013. I think we've all been ready for some good news, what with the long and excruciating period of uncertainty from the defense sequestration scare, and with the delayed Pentagon budget request for fiscal year 2014.
For months, perhaps longer, everyone was holding on to cash, making as few real business commitments as possible, and generally hunkering down for ... well, we weren't sure what for, but our industry has been in a defensive crouch, it seems, for longer than we can remember.
Then last week came a glimmer of hope from one of the embedded computing industry's longtime and respected pundits, Ray Alderman, executive director of the VITA Open Standards, Open Markets embedded computing industry trade association in Fountain Hills, Ariz.
In short, Alderman says the worst may be over for much of the military electronics industry. This isn't to say bad things are over, but the worst of the bad things may be coming to an end soon.
The worst of the bad things may be over. Hey, at this stage we'll take whatever we can get, right? My friend Pete Yeatman summed up the industry's frustration with the sequestration process in the February 2013 issue of COTS Journal in a column entitled Sequestration: Won't it Ever Go Away?
Alderman, in his semiannual State of the VITA Technology Industry report, says the military embedded computing industry could see a surge in activity once the fiscal year 2014 Pentagon budget request is issued sometime between now and June.
-- Military embedded computing industry hits economic doldrums, but may turn corner soon
-- 2013 State of the VITA Technology Industry
-- Sequestration: Won’t it Ever Go Away?.
Now that the 2014 U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) budget request may be coming soon, I think we'll find that the reality won't be as bad as our worst fears. The Pentagon's budget request may come as early as the end of next week, or as late as June. Federal budget requests normally are submitted to Congress in February.
Let's not delude ourselves, however. We're not about to see a return to the good old days, whatever those may have been for you. Alderman points out in his latest state-of-the-industry report that the aerospace and defense embedded computing industry remains "in a fog of uncertainty and confusion," which retards hiring and budgetary decisions.
Industry innovations through research, development, and other innovations, meanwhile, have become stagnant such that "There is no point in going over promising military applications and technologies" until things change, Alderman wrote.
That change could be at hand. We're slowly learning what sequestration actually will mean for the defense industry. When the budget request comes out, we'll have a better idea how things will go over the next year or so. Industry leaders will be able to start planning again, and that simple development will be huge.