This is from the Wall Street Journal:
The war in Ukraine should galvanize Washington policy makers. It has demonstrated that America’s defense-industrial base isn’t up to the job of supplying the U.S. military with weapons for a prolonged conventional conflict with a major power such as China. Production lines for Stinger and Javelin missiles destined for Ukraine are stretched to capacity, with critical components no longer produced in sufficient quantity to meet demand.
The industrial competencies required for sustained conventional warfare have atrophied. In 2018 the Trump administration identified nearly 300 significant gaps across 10 “risk archetypes” in the defense industry, such as reliance on a foreign supplier, that could directly undermine the U.S. military’s ability to fight a major war. The causes of these gaps vary and are subject to debate. They range from the general decline of domestic manufacturing to Congress’s failure to ensure a predictable defense-funding cycle and from the predatory industrial policies of other nations to an assumption that America’s future wars would be quick and decisive. Whatever the causes, the status quo is profoundly dangerous.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. had 28 shipyards capable of building oceangoing naval or merchant-marine vessels. The Navy’s ship-repair facility on Guam was closed in the 1990s, requiring substantial repair work for U.S. submarines to occur on this side of the Pacific. Only two naval shipyards and fewer than 20 dry docks remain in the Pacific Fleet area of operations, well below what the Navy needs. Most harbor cranes—essential for ship repair and construction—are built abroad, and often in China. In the event of a war, the Navy would have a hard time repairing its ships
Without a defense-industrial base that can rapidly produce and repair platforms and munitions, America’s military will be like a great football team that can play only through the first quarter. To address this weakness, the administration and Congress must make immediate, targeted investments. These should be focused on air, naval, space and munitions capabilities, including private and public shipyards, ship-repair facilities and associated infrastructure.
The U.S. may soon need to fight and win a more intense war than it has faced in decades. China won’t be deterred unless it sees that the U.S. is ready, and the industrial base is essential to that. There is no time to waste.
This article was written by Elbridge Colby, who according to his biography is:
Mr. Colby is a principal at the Marathon Initiative. He served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development (2017-18). Mr. Gray is a senior adviser at the Marathon Initiative. He served as special assistant to the president for the defense industrial base (2017-18) and chief of staff of the National Security Council (2019-21).
Mr. Colby is right but missed a YUGE part of the problem.
It’s not just our defense manufacturing base, it’s our entire manufacturing base.
Our cranes from from China, but so does much of the steel to make them.
Along with the loss of manufacturing, we’ve lost the people and skills to have WWII level production. We have atrophied across the board.
We can’t just have defense manufacturing. We have to have manufacturing in every sector do those skilled people and resources have the ability to move and develop.
We retooled tractor factories to make tanks, and the same people who welded bucket loader bucket and forged caterpillar treads could easily transition to welding armor plate and making tank treads.
Without other manufacturing, defense manufacturing cannot survive on it’s own.
What wasn’t said, probably because this is a Wall Street publication, is that this was done to America by the financial sector.
Every outsourced job, every factory closed down and moved overseas was another Jenga block pulled out of our infrastructure base.
We were told it would make us better and our goods cheaper.
It just made the financial sector richer, the middle-class poorer, and the country less strategically safe.
I know that I have become an extremist in many ways.
This was done to me.
I used to be the libertarian guy who said “of course Rubbermaid had to shut down production in South Carolina, it’s cheaper to make trash cans in China, the market makes these decisions.”
I was wrong.
We undermined our economy, our workforce, and our self sufficiency as a nation for the profit of holding companies.
So now I want to course correct, and harshly.
If tye government want to give tax incentives to build up domestic manufacturing, fine.
But I also want to take the financial, management, and consultants who did this in the first place and put them to the wall for treason.
Then I want to dump their bodies in board rooms across the country and say “you will figure out how to make America self sufficient on manufacturing again or I will have you shot for treason as well.”