Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump signs an executive order alongside US Defense Secretary James Mattis and US Vice President Muike Pence on January 27, 2017, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Donald Trump intends to sign an executive order initiating a broad “whole of government” review of the defense industrial base including labor and the defense supply chain, a White House officials told reporters on Friday.
“There’s just one company in the U.S. that can repair propellers for Navy submarines,” Peter Navarro, the White House National Trade Council director, said as he explained the order to reporters.
Trump plans to sign the order Friday afternoon.
The review is intended to identify and address potential weak points in the U.S. defense manufacturing base including companies that could “go under,” leaving gaps in the supply chain for U.S. weapons systems, Navarro said.
“This order recognizes that as the U.S. has loss of over 60,000 factories and more than 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2001, America’s defense industrial base is now facing increasing gaps in its capabilities,” he said.
Certain types of military-grade semiconductors and printed circuit boards have become endangered species, Navarro told reporters. Flat-panel displays for aircraft and the processing of rare earth elements “have left our shores entirely,” he said.
“The ability of the U.S. to manufacture and obtain goods critical to our national security could be hampered by an inability to obtain essential components, which may not themselves be directly related to national security,” said Alexander Gray, who works in the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.
The “Executive Order on Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States” will initiate the review which will be led by the Pentagon and conclude in 270 days, Navarro said.
The review will be conducted in concert with the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security as well as other government agencies.