One of the criticisms that those who opposed government run human space flight activities focuses on whether NASA should really be a jobs program. Last year, in an interview with Defense News, Undersecretary of Defense Ashton Carter stated his strong belief that some jobs are worth keeping because they are not easily replicated in commercial industry and therefore difficult to replace.
I feel industrial base issues are completely legitimate because having the best defense industrial and technology base in the world is not a birthright.
It’s not about jobs, it’s about certain kinds of jobs: very rare kinds of skills that are not easily replicated in the commercial world and, if allowed to erode, would be difficult to rebuild.
It’s also interesting that the Secretary of Defense testified on Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee that neither he nor anyone at DoD was consulted with concerning the cuts to NASA and the outsourcing of Constellation’s Ares V, which would have provided the DoD with a heavy lift capability.