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Posted by John Keller

Market researcher IC Insights Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. is releasing a dismal report on worldwide shipments of electronics systems, which says sales in 2007 will represent the smallest growth since electronics manufacturers recovered from the 2001-2002 downturn in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks and the telecom bust.

Also bad news for our industry, IC Insights is altering its integrated circuit forecasts and 2008 is not expected to be a big year, as believed last year. A year ago IC Insights projected the semiconductor market would grow by 7 percent in 2007 and 20 percent in 2008, but has lowered its IC forecast to 2 percent growth in 2007 in its latest report.

Growth in defense electronics spending, meanwhile, also is starting to cool off after years of growth during the Bush Administration. The 2008 Defense Department budget request contained spending cuts for procurement and research in communications, electronics, telecommunications, and intelligence (CET&I;) technologies.

Industry experts also are predicting that overall defense spending has peaked for the time being, and should begin a long-term shallow decline, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan start winding down next year and a war-weary Democrat Congress starts looking for other ways to spend the taxpayers money.

In all this doom and gloom, however, folks in our industry should not lose sight of the promise of defense spending. Even when military spending is on the downturn, as it apparently will be for a while, it still represents a large and reliable source of income for technology companies.

Think of the huge ups and downs we've seen in commercial industries like telecommunications and Internet technologies. Military spending is steady and reliable by comparison. Sure, spending in our industry may be scaling back, but it's still a large and promising business to be in.

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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.