In a stunning series of across the board reports from defense analysts, retired military leaders, manufacturers, and unions, it has been revealed that America’s ability to produce the weapons and technology vital to our national defense is rapidly vanishing.
According to Frank Gaffney, Jr., Director of the Center for Security Policy, The worst impact will be on the national safety of the United States, but the economic impact of the resulting loss of 255,000 jobs, 88% of which will be in small businesses, will also be devastating.
China’s military is growing at a dramatic pace and Beijing is becoming increasingly aggressive across the globe. It is clearly America’s most dangerous potential adversary. Amazingly, however, absolutely vital parts of our military production are wholly dependent on the nation we are most likely to come to blows with –whether diplomatically or in a contest of arms–in the coming years.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing reports that “China controls key inputs needed for military equipment…The United States is completely dependent on a single Chinese company for the chemical needed to produce solid rocket fuel used to propel Hellfire missiles.”
The news gets worse. High-tech magnets are vital components in military equipment and vehicles. The United States does not produce any of these key parts, but China manufactures 75% of the world’s supply.
The crisis extends also to essential raw materials. America imports 91% of the rare-earth element lanthanum, used for night vision, from China.
America’s dependence on overseas sources is not merely the result of a change in global economics. Much of it is the intentional result of financial policies which have driven U.S. manufacturers out of business, and, most recently, the intentional actions of the Obama Administration. A key case in point concerns the Abrams tank, America’s premier fighting vehicle. There is only one plant— in Lima, Ohio– in the entire USA that manufactures these machines. There was another facility near Detroit, but it was closed in 1996. President Obama has sought to shut it down—leaving America without the ability to produce this essential part of our defense. The plant’s life has been extended for two years, but the future looks uncertain.
An analysis prepared by the Industrial Union Council of the AFL-CIO reports that “…a much greater number of items once supplied by U.S. manufacturers are now obtained from foreign suppliers—flat panel displays, machine tools, advanced electronics and information technologies—because they are not readily available from U.S. producers.” The study reports that U.S. Joint Forces Command Colonel Michael Cole believes that the problem is not just a matter of a handful of highly specialized items designed to meet narrow defense requirements, but the “eradication of U.S. industry capacity.” Col. Cole also is concerned that current strategies to address the crisis are not working.
Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General John Adams has called for a joint strategy by government, industry, academic research institutions, and the military to increase U.S. domestic production of manufactured items and recovery of natural resources that the armed forces require. In addition, his recommendations emphasize the importance of investment today in the technological innovation, education, and training needed to keep America secure tomorrow.