Can the U.S. still defend itself? AKA: Do we build our own weapons?

Posted by scapozzola on 03/29/2011

Here's a good question: How much of the U.S. military's weaponry and equipment is actually made in America?  Or, conversely, how dependent is the U.S. military on overseas manufacturing?

No one really knows the answer, though there are very worrying instances that suggest a troubling decline in America's ability to arm itself.  As we've previously reported:

Over the past several years, military experts have expressed concern about the integrity of our defense supply chain. Indeed, our military may be forced to turn to China for defense-related components no longer available in the United States.

Large military equipment, including tanks and planes, sit idle in repair centers as the few American companies left that provide both spare parts and the tools used to attach them have dwindled to a trickle. Humvees receive armor plating at a painful pace as only one U.S. manufacturer of armored steel remains.

These concerns are now so serious that the Director of National Intelligence has begun preparing a National Intelligence Estimate specifically focused on assessing "the security implications of the decline of American manufacturing," according to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

The NIE investigation is long overdue and will hopefully point the way toward a much-needed national manufacturing strategy focused on rebuilding critical segments of the U.S. industrial base.  ManufactureThis will be certain to follow this story and report any key developments or publicly announced findings.

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