A new report investigating the strength of US manufacturing and specifically the defense sector has detailed an "unprecedented set of challenges" that have left the entire industrial base "under threat".
The report title, ‘Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States’, which was commissioned by President Donald Trump in July 2017, took a year to complete, involved a dozen federal agencies and 300 workers.
Its findings have been condensed down to a 50 page report, plus appendices, summarizing the stresses eroding US industrial strength. Many of the recommendations derived from the analysis are contained in a classified (secret) annex, some of which have already been implemented.
The report identifies five “macro forces” causing weakness in industries important to national security. These include:
- Uncertainty in US Government spending
- Declining US manufacturing capabilities and capacity
- Poor Government business and procurement practices
- Predatory industrial policies of competitor nations
- Inadequate investment in critical STEM and trade skills
It then highlights 10 “archetypal” risks caused by the macro forces such as: sole or fragile suppliers; foreign dependency; skills shortages and constrained supply.
According to the Whitehouse, the Report found nearly 300 risks the US defense industrial and manufacturing base and offered comprehensive solutions to ensure readiness.
Recommendations for reversing the nation’s industrial decline are detailed in “A Blueprint for Action” on page 53. Included in the “Blueprint” are specific tasks particularly for Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Labor.
In a statement from the Whitehouse, The Trump Administration said it was taking steps to execute on the recommendations in the Report by:
- Expanding direct investment in the industrial base to address critical bottlenecks, support fragile suppliers, and mitigate single points-of-failure.
- Accelerating workforce development efforts to grow domestic science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) education, and critical trade skills.
- Working with allies and partners on joint industrial base challenges.
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