Industrial Base: Vital to Defense
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WASHINGTON DC
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The deterioration of Americas industrial base is one of the most pressing issues facing the Department of Defense today, but it is not a new problem. In a 1980 report on industrial responsiveness, the Defense Science Board first raised the red flag. One year ago, the board published another study on the defense industrial base. It concluded that our industrial and technology base has further deteriorated and that a coordinated response by government and industry is needed before this decline diminishes the credibility of our deterrent capability. Last year, a second advisory group to DoD published a report on the status of the industrial base titled Bolstering Defense Industrial Competitiveness, which focused on the problems that inhibit the competitiveness of American industries. DoD is working diligently to correct the problems unique to it. Many, however, will require the cooperation of public policy makers throughout the executive and legislative branches. There is often confusion over what is meant by the phrase the defense industrial base. It is usually interpreted as meaning only the large prime contractors for our weapon systems. The fact is that the defense industrial base generally comprises the same manufacturers that produce goods for the commercial sector. Although a number of companies rely primarily on the DoD as their principal market, few industries do. The department draws on virtually every sector of manufacturing for the products and services it requires every day. As a result, its legitimate interest in the defense industrial base is inseparable from its interest in the U.S. industrial base as a whole. This article discusses the decline of U.S. competitiveness in the fields of microelectronics, computers, and composite materials improving the relationship between DoD and its contractors and what DoD can do to help U.S. industry remain competitive.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations