White House issues executive order on defense industry sourcing

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday ordering a review of the U.S. defense industrial base and supply chains
By Stephen Carlson   |   Updated July 21, 2017 at 5:14 PM
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July 21 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday ordering a review of the U.S. defense industrial base and supply chains over the next year.

The order mandates federal agencies to compile an assessment of what raw materials, manufacturing and components are vital for defense purposes, where they are currently sourced and what contingencies may disrupt supply chains of those materials.

In addition, the order calls for an outline of current U.S. defense manufacturing capabilities, identify which areas have gaps in domestic production or are particularly vulnerable to supply disruption.

The information is to be used to determine which areas of domestic defense production should be strengthened and to provide redundancy to vulnerable supply chains. The report is to be delivered in 270 days.

In an off-camera briefing to reporters on Friday morning, Peter Navarro, director of the National Trade Council, said there is a shortage of domestic companies that can manufacture and repair certain key components for defense purposes.

Some items like flat-screen displays and military grade semiconductors are difficult or impossible to source domestically, making the military supply chain vulnerable.

Certain key industries such as being able to process the rare-earth minerals needed for modern electronics no longer exist in the United States, Navarro said. Some key systems are highly dependent on sole-source suppliers.

"There's just one company in the U.S. that can repair propellers for Navy submarines," Navarro offered as an example.

Navarro is an economist who has strongly criticized the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing and the resultant loss of domestic industry and jobs. He has played a key role in forming Trump's economic policy concepts.

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