The essence of the problem , according to a re-reading of the facts by a Reuters journalist, Andy Home, who had come into possession of a copy of the report , dated last September, from the US Department of Defense concerning the supply of essential material for the American army. Entitled „Evaluating and strengthening the resilience of the US manufacturing and defense supply chain” (September 2018), it reveals that more than 300 (!) key-supplies, which are necessary for the normal functioning of the American armed forces, are in danger: the American producers are either on the verge of bankruptcy or have already been replaced by Chinese suppliers or of other nationalities, due to the de-industrialization of the domestic economy and the relocation of production to South-East Asian nations.
An example, which Home draws from the aforementioned report: the last American producer of synthetic polyester yarns, necessary for the fabrication of sheets for military encampment, has recently ended out of business. This means that if the United States were to declare a „tissue embargo,” some American soldiers would have the serious prospect of having to sleep outdoors.
But it would be the least. Other supply difficulties are listed in the non-secreted part of the report: from the cold-rolled aluminum used for hulls, to the maintenance of watertight drive shafts for submarines, to the silicon power switches used in missile systems, everything is bought abroad in the global market. The military finds that they can no longer rely on the industrial power of a country that estimates it has lost 66,000 manufacturing businesses in the first 16 years of this century.
The United States fears difficulties in the future deliveries of the special electric switches that operate almost all American missiles. The American manufacturer of these switches closed, but the high grades of the army had only come to light after the cessation of supplies. And they can not be ordered anywhere else, because the producer disappeared two years ago. Another example: the only national manufacturer of solid fuel engines for air-to-air missiles, as stated in the document, „had encountered technical problems related to production,” reasons that had not been clarified even after the intervention of governmental and military experts. Attempts to resume production have failed and the Pentagon has been forced to resort to a Norwegian company to ensure continuity of deliveries. Obviously, this is a sign of a sure technical degradation of the whole American system, because the loss of some basic skills is not enough to justify a situation where you can not restore a production and you can not even understand what the problem is.
They admit in the Pentagon that they can no longer trust the manufacturers of electronic components that also serve to make atomic weapons working – because „the production chain is globalized”, in short, they use chips manufactured in China or Korea, and they do not know exactly what the Chinese have put us inside. Goodbye military secrets. The same applies to the software.
China, it is worth mentioning, was the largest single supplier of aluminum products in the United States last year. Russia, another country specifically identified as a threat in the relationship, was the second largest supplier of primary aluminum.
“All aspects of the industrial production base for defense are currently threatened, at a time when strategic competitors and revisionist powers (sic) appear to grow in strength and capacity” the report said. China is at the top of the list of “strategic competitors”.
“China’s non-market distortions to the economic gaming field must end, or the US risks losing the technology and industrial capabilities that have enabled and enhanced our military dominance.”
In short: the Pentagon discovers that, by reducing itself to buy on the global market what it needs, it can end up depending on an enemy to complete his armament.
It’s the beauty of the global market, guys. It is the ideology of “interdependence”, of “competitive advantage”; of buying goods at the lowest price because it is cheap and competitive, which has de-industrialized the West. And it weakens armed force. Thus, it is noted that a powerful State must maintain processes and technological excellence removed from the market and competition, in short, a dose of autarky of the leading military industries – which meets the needs of security, not those of the price convenience. The logic of the global market makes technologically retreat, at the bottom, even the civilization of the country that adopts it with ideological rigor.
The Pentagon’s report is important for the change in ideology it contains: explicitly states the primacy of strategic needs on liberal economics. It is a contribution to de-globalization. Now President Trump argues that “a healthy industrial […] base is a critical element of US power” and insists that “industrialization is a strategic issue”: as what is “strategic” is concern of the responsibility of the President, an interesting period opens up for the “global markets”.