While September coverage for our blog mostly revolved around two major story lines, i.e. electronic vehicles battery tech and trade, today’s release of the long-awaited Defense Industrial Base Report will likely change this for October — for good reasons.
As Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, outlines today in a piece for the New York Times, this “first governmentwide assessment of America’s manufacturing and military industrial base (…) identifies almost 300 vulnerabilities, ranging from dependencies on foreign manufacturers to looming labor shortages.” ARPN followers will not be surprised to learn that “[a] core threat to the American industrial base comes from China.”
“According to the report, ‘China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials deemed strategic and critical to U.S. national security,’ including a ‘growing number of both widely used and specialized metals, alloys and other materials, including rare earths and permanent magnets.’
The American military is also heavily dependent on foreign suppliers in such critical areas as printed circuit boards, machine tools, materials for propulsion systems and even nuclear warheads. As the report notes: ‘Because the supply chain is globalized and complex, it is challenging to ensure that finished assemblies, subsystems, and systems’ for nuclear warheads utilize ‘trusted, discrete components due to diminishing U.S.-based microelectronic and electronic manufacturing capability.’
From a resource policy perspective, there is much to unpack in this 146 pages-long report that was compiled by sixteen working groups over the course of the past fourteen months, so expect our blog focus for the next few weeks to shift towards defense-related supply chain vulnerabilities affecting our national security, and their policy implications.
For your weekend reading pleasure, find the full report on the Department of Defense’s website.