WASHINGTON ― A presidentially ordered review of the defense-industrial base has been completed by the Pentagon and submitted to the White House for comment.
In response to an inquiry by Defense News, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza confirmed it has been completed at the defense level and is undergoing interagency review.
The report, requested by President Donald Trump in July 2017, is expected to be made fully public when published. It is expected to focus on identifying unhealthy areas in the industrial base or weak spots in the supply chain. That review falls under the overarching idea, pushed heavily by White House Director of Trade and Industrial Policy Peter Navarro, that “economic security is national security.”
The Trump review is unrelated to a newly released report by the Pentagon’s Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, but is likely to cover much of the same ground.
Last month, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment Ellen Lord told reporters she expects the industrial base review to be completed around May 15. She also indicated that document will raise several red flags about China’s influence on the industrial base.
“We have an amazing amount of dependency on China,” Lord said at the time. “We are sole sources for rare earth minerals, some energetics, different things. This is a problem for us as we move forward.
“So we will be coming out with a whole series of actions we’re taking as the government to make sure we work with our allies and partners if we don’t have the capability domestically so that we don’t have that dependency on China.”
More than a dozen working groups from across government have been studying the defense-industrial base to recommend ways to cover gaps and weaknesses. Those groups include representatives from the Pentagon and other agencies like the departments of Commerce and Homeland Security. Some of the working groups are aligned with subsectors like shipbuilding, ground vehicles or radars, while others match crosscutting topics like the workforce, cybersecurity or electronics.
The review has also included industrial base war games to discover what would happen should natural or man-made disasters impact the ability of America to produce parts or planes.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.