ARLINGTON, VA – The National Defense Industrial Association applauded Friday President Donald Trump’s intent to sign an executive order for a wide “whole of government” review of the defense industrial base, saying the action is a long time in coming and offering its hand in research and study.
“The review is long overdue,” said retired Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle on Friday. “Fully understanding sound, solid ways to strengthen our industrial base is crucial to U.S. national security.”
Comments from Carlisle, president and CEO of the Arlington, VA-based defense nonprofit organization that champions issues and policy for a strong defense industrial base, came after the White House announced Friday that Trump would sign the “Executive Order on Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.”
The order says the United States has lost more than 60,000 factory jobs and more that 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2001, Trade Policy Director Peter Navarro said during a press briefing. America’s defense industrial base now facing increasing gaps in its capabilities, he said.
Carlisle agreed. “The United States must concentrate on its ability to stay ahead,” he said. “We need to ensure that we maintain core capabilities and advance our manufacturing capacity and supply chain. We have to build better and faster, and we have to ensure that we have the workforce available to make that happen.”
Warfighting capability versus capacity is among those issues. “We don’t have capacity for what the nation is asking our warfighters to do,” Carlisle said. For instance, he said, there is a shortage of fighter jets as well as pilots to fly them.
“We are on a precipice,” he said, “and we are burning out our warriors.”
Carlisle said NDIA is ready to work with both the Defense Department and industry to complete this review under the whole-of-government approach, which calls on diverse segments of government to study an issue for a common solution.
“Our 80,000-plus members are the best and brightest, and the reason NDIA remains a leader in defense and national security organizations,” Carlisle said. “We are ready to get this examination started.”
Trump was expected to sign the executive order Friday night; it is then due to be done 270 days later, likely by next spring. The Pentagon will lead the review, considered the first such assessment of the defense industrial base.
NDIA offers Carlisle and its broad base of defense industry experts for further comment on this executive order.
The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is the trusted leader in defense and national security associations. As a 501(c)(3) corporate and individual membership association, NDIA engages thoughtful and innovative leaders to exchange ideas, information, and capabilities that lead to the development of the best policies, practices, products, and technologies to ensure the safety and security of our nation. NDIA’s membership embodies the full spectrum of corporate, government, academic, and individual stakeholders who form a vigorous, responsive, and collaborative community in support of defense and national security. For more information, visit www.ndia.org.