The Washington Times Daily

China’s dom­i­na­tion of mil­i­tary sup­ply chain alarms Pen­tagon.

Trump moves to shore up U.S. in­dus­trial, man­u­fac­tur­ing base

- BY S.A. MILLER This ar­ti­cle is based in part on wire ser­vice re­ports.

Fear­ing China’s dom­i­na­tion of re­sources and tech­nol­ogy needed to build Amer­ica’s war ma­chine, Pres­i­dent Trump last week moved to fix nearly 300 vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties found in the Pen­tagon’s in­dus­trial and man­u­fac­tur­ing base, the White House said.

A sweep­ing Pen­tagon re­port pre­sented to the pres­i­dent Fri­day de­tailed the hun­dreds of weak­nesses in U.S. in­dus­tries vi­tal to mil­i­tary readi­ness. It iden­ti­fied China as a “sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing risk” to the sup­ply chain for mil­i­tary hard­ware.

The re­port noted that 90 per­cent of the world’s printed cir­cuit boards are pro­duced in Asia, more than half of them in China, pre­sent­ing a risk to U.S. de­fense.

Mr. Trump re­sponded with orders for the De­part­ments of De­fense, Com­merce, En­ergy, and La­bor to make di­rect in­vest­ment to ex­pand U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ties and stock­pile re­serves of scarce ma­te­ri­als, a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said.

China’s dom­i­nance in­cludes the global sup­ply of rare-earth el­e­ments crit­i­cal for mil­i­tary ap­pli­ca­tions.

As part of the ef­fort, Mr. Trump or­dered the Pen­tagon to de­velop and pur­chase equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als needed for pi­lot pro­duc­tion of lithium sea-wa­ter bat­ter­ies needed for an­ti­sub­ma­rine war­fare.

The spend­ing to ad­dress the short­fall in U.S. pro­duc­tion of the bat­ter­ies was an­nounced in a let­ter the pres­i­dent sent to the chair­men of the House Com­mit­tee on Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Bank­ing, Hous­ing and Ur­ban Af­fairs.

“These pro­posed ini­tia­tives are es­sen­tial to the na­tional de­fense,” the pres­i­dent wrote.

Other spend­ing will tar­get crit­i­cal bot­tle­necks in the sup­ply chain, sup­port frag­ile sup­pli­ers and mit­i­gate sin­gle points of fail­ure, said the White House.

The 140-page Pen­tagon re­port traced some of the prob­lems to de­fense spend­ing caps known as se­ques­tra­tion and un­cer­tainty in U.S. gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

The re­port also pointed to the de­cline of U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and de­fi­cien­cies in the work­force for science and skilled trades.

Other cor­rec­tive ac­tions out­lined by the White House in­clude:

● Ac­cel­er­at­ing do­mes­tic work­force de­vel­op­ment ef­forts in science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics (STEM) ed­u­ca­tion and crit­i­cal trade skills.

● Work­ing with al­lies and part­ners on joint in­dus­trial base chal­lenges.

The buildup aligns with Mr. Trump’s ef­forts to re­build the U.S. steel and alu­minum in­dus­tries to pro­tect na­tional se­cu­rity.

He slapped tar­iffs on those prod­ucts ear­lier this year to boost do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion, trig­ger­ing trade dis­putes with China but also with Canada and other al­lies. But the tar­iffs had the de­sired ef­fect of ex­pand­ing pro­duc­tion that in­cluded the open­ings of new alu­minum and steel mills.

The Pen­tagon re­port ar­rived as the ad­min­is­tra­tion am­pli­fied its get-tough China pol­icy. Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence warned in a speech Thurs­day of Bei­jing’s eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in the U.S.

“We will not be in­tim­i­dated, and we will not stand down,” said Mr. Pence.

Crit­ics said the re­port in­cluded few new de­tails about de­fi­cien­cies that have be­come ap­par­ent in re­cent years. Some of the con­cerns were out­lined in an in­ter­nal De­fense Depart­ment re­port re­leased ear­lier this year, ac­cord­ing to De­fense News.

Mr. Trump or­dered the ex­ten­sive re­view in July 2017 to as­sess lost man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­ity and mil­i­tary readi­ness.

Deputy Sec­re­tary of De­fense Pa­trick M. Shana­han pre­sented the re­port to the pres­i­dent Fri­day in Oval Of­fice.

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said it was the most com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment of the man­u­fac­tur­ing and de­fense in­dus­trial base in Amer­i­can his­tory.

“The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is pur­su­ing an ag­gres­sive agenda to re­build our mil­i­tary through in­creased de­fense spend­ing and mod­ern­iza­tion ini­tia­tives, while tak­ing strong mea­sures to re­vi­tal­ize Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing,” she said in a state­ment. “We are re­duc­ing bur­den­some reg­u­la­tions, im­ple­ment­ing his­toric tax cuts, end­ing un­fair trade deals, and much more. These poli­cies rep­re­sent the un­der­stand­ing, out­lined in the 2017 Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy, that eco­nomic se­cu­rity truly is na­tional se­cu­rity.”

 ?? AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS ?? Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing has be­come a “sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing risk” to the sup­ply chain for mil­i­tary hard­ware, ac­cord­ing to a sweep­ing Pen­tagon re­port.
AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing has be­come a “sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing risk” to the sup­ply chain for mil­i­tary hard­ware, ac­cord­ing to a sweep­ing Pen­tagon re­port.

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