Guardian 6 Recommendations for Military Provisioning
1: Increasing long-term federal investment in high-technology industries, particularly those involving advanced research and manufacturing capabilities. The distinguishing attribute of the U.S. defense industrial base is technological innovation. As foreign nations continue manufacturing an ever-larger share of America’s defense supplies, the United States increases its risk of diminishing its capacity to design and commercialize emerging defense technologies. To help ensure that our armed forces dominate the future battlefield, Congress should provide funding for American manufacturers to develop and implement advanced process technologies.
2: Properly applying and enforcing existing laws and regulations to support the U.S. defense industrial base. Domestic source preferences already enacted into law, such as those that apply to the steel and titanium industries under the Specialty Metals Clause, must be retained to ensure that important defense capabilities remain secure and available for the U.S. armed forces.
3: Developing domestic sources of key natural resources required by our armed forces. Right now the United States relies far too heavily on foreign nations for certain key metals and other raw materials needed to manufacture weapons systems and other military supplies. For example, most rare earth elements, which are essential components of many modern military technologies, currently must be purchased from China. The U.S. government and industry must stockpile these vital raw materials, strengthen efforts to resume mining and transformation of the materials in the United States, improve recycling to make more efficient use of current supplies, and identify alternate materials.
4: Developing plans to strengthen our defense industrial base in the U.S. National Military Strategy, National Security Strategy, and the Quadrennial Defense Review process. This would make creating and sustaining a healthier defense industrial base a higher national priority, with a focus on increasing support for the most important and vulnerable industrial sectors.
5: Building consensus among government, industry, the defense industrial base workforce, and the military on the best ways to strengthen the defense industrial base. These sectors must work collaboratively to successfully address the concerns of all defense industrial base stakeholders.
6: Increasing cooperation among federal agencies and between government and industry to build a healthier defense industrial base. The Departments of State, Treasury, Energy, Commerce, Homeland Security, and others in the Executive Branch should join the Department of Defense in working to bolster the defense industrial base.
7: Strengthening collaboration between government, industry, and academic research institutions to educate, train, and retain people with specialized skills to work in key defense industrial base sectors. The loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs has reduced the size of the workforce skilled in research, development, and advanced manufacturing processes.
8: Crafting legislation to support a broadly representative defense industrial base strategy. Congress and the Administration must collaborate on economic and fiscal policies that budget for enduring national security capabilities and sustain the industrial base necessary to support them.
9: Modernizing and securing defense supply chains through networked operations. These operations should be built on the excellent work that the DOD and industry are already doing to map and secure defense supply chains. The operations would provide ongoing communications between prime contractors and the supply chains they depend on. Closer communications, patterned on the networked operations of U.S. military forces around the world, would help managers identify and solve recurring problems with military supplies.
10: Identifying potential defense supply chain chokepoints and planning to prevent disruptions. This recommendation would require determining the scope of foreign control over critical military supply chains and finding ways of restoring U.S. control.
About Guardian Six
Guardian Six Consulting is a defense and national security consulting firm that advises governments, businesses, and non-profits. Their experts have decades of practical, military, and academic experience in national security, defense policy, intelligence, international relations, and economic analysis.