American-Made Steel Contributes to an American-Made Defense

By Matthew McMullan
Mar 22 2016 |
The ArcelorMittal USA steel mill in Burns Harbor, Indiana. | Photo by David Wilson

A Buy America provision keeps the Navy supplied with U.S. products.

Where does the steel in the American Navy’s ships come from? ’Merica, that’s where.

More specifically? Northwest Indiana, among other places.

Not long ago came the news that a Buy America provision for the steel procured by the U.S. Department of Defense had been renewed. That means public money spent on steel for our national defense will support American jobs – not state-owned enterprises elsewhere who might not have America’s best interests at heart. As recently as 2013, an alarming number of critical materials in the defense supply chain were found to have been produced overseas.

Americans, by and large, believe the domestic steel industry is critical to our national defense. They will be pleased to note that Buy America provisions work. And you can see that provision in action up in Northwest Indiana. That’s where Arcelor Mittal, a global steel producer with a big domestic footprint (and AAM partner), has a mill at Burns Harbor. Hoosier workers there made the steel that recently went into the USS Illinois, a Virginia-class submarine. Noted the Northwest Indiana Times:

Plate made at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor in Porter County goes into many Navy vessels, including the new aircraft carrier CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford, Littoral Combat Ships, and DDG Destroyers like that used to rescue Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

In a release, the company said it was the “sole qualified U.S. supplier of these grades of steel to the Navy.” That in itself is a good reason to keep Buy America laws intact – they play a part in preserving America’s industrial base that can supply our national defense in times of need.