Top defense officials said last week that the Pentagon intends to invest in domestic manufacturing to reduce it over-reliance on Chinese and other foreign-made parts in American weapons.
The Pentagon’s reliance on China is a major topic discussed in a new report about the overall status of the defense industrial base that President Trump is scheduled to release. Some other areas include “accelerating workforce development efforts to grow domestic science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and critical trade skills,” said Defense One.
“This assessment recognizes the global nature of our supply chain and really addresses the need for strengthening alliances and partnerships so that we can jointly address industrial base risk,” Ellon Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said Thursday evening during a press briefing at the Pentagon.
Pentagon officials are expected to ask Congress for additional funding for mitigating efforts in its fiscal 2020 budget request to Congress early next year.
“We already have existing industrial-base mitigation tools,” said Eric Chewning, the deputy assistant defense secretary for industrial policy, said during the briefing. “There’s already money available to address some of these challenges.”
According to Defense One, the new report says China is the only manufacturer of various chemicals needed in missiles and bombs, Europe and Japan are the only supplies of certain carbon fibers used in missiles, satellites, and rockets; Germany is the sole supplier of high-tech vacuum tubes for night vision goggles.
China is a major focal point in the report, mentioned more than 200 times, it seems US government agencies are rushing to halt weapon parts from the country. Some of the report’s findings and recommendations on reworking supply chains are considered classified because they describe vulnerabilities in US supply chains.
“I wouldn’t think of this just as an additional ask for money,” Chewning said. “We also need to be spending what we do more wisely. This isn’t just an investment fix. There’s legislative fixes, there’s policy fixes, there’s regulatory fixes. We need to be able to hit all of those levers.”
It is not that the Pentagon has not been investing in domestic manufacturing, he said. “Sometimes we’re just not spending money in the right way.”
Hawk, Carlisle, president and CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), said the report indicates a “sobering picture” of the defense industrial base. NDIA was one of the trade groups that helped the Trump administration develop the report.
“Reliance on single producers within the supply chain, dependence on unstable or unfriendly foreign suppliers for critical components, and misplaced presumption of continued preeminence of American military superiority are examples of findings that should be immediately addressed,” Carlisle said in a statement.
The Aerospace Industries Association, another trade group that participated in the review, said: “Ultimately, while it is essential that the Administration focus on addressing the specific challenges facing the industrial base, none of the advancements in acquisition policy, key capabilities or workforce will matter without adequate DOD budgets.”
Reworking the Pentagon’s supply chains also come at a time when global openness has peaked, and the old economic order from a post World War II recovery to hyper-globalization has ended. As a result, supply chain disruptions tend to trigger a slowdown in global growth momentum.
The Pentagon is not alone in the attempt of reworking their supply chains. Many multinationals are digesting President Trump’s trade war that is causing much uncertainty and rewriting trade routes from country to country, due to tariffs.
The only reason the Pentagon would want to rewrite their supply chains and become less reliant on the rest of the world is that they see a war on the horizon. War tends to disrupt global trade, the US government is now preparing for conflict by securing its supply chains.
Full article: New Report Says Trump Wants Chinese Parts Out Of American Weapons (ZeroHedge)