President Trump’s maxim that “economic security is national security” comes with an important corollary: A strong manufacturing base is critical to both economic prosperity and national defense.
Policies advanced by the administration under this banner include corporate tax cuts and a wave of deregulation to stimulate investment and spur innovation; steel and aluminum tariffs to bolster core industries; a stout defense against China’s brazen theft and forced transfers of American intellectual property and technologies; a significant increase in the military budget; expansion of Buy American rules for government procurement; and tough steps on trade to level the playing field for American workers, businesses and farmers.
To this long list of measures to improve America’s economic and national security, we should now add the actions recommended in a new Department of Defense report. This yearlong effort, carried out at the president’s order, constitutes the first governmentwide assessment of America’s manufacturing and military industrial base. It identifies almost 300 vulnerabilities, ranging from dependencies on foreign manufacturers to looming labor shortages.
Peter Navarro is Assistant to the President for trade and manufacturing policy. This op-ed appeared in The New York Times on October 4, 2018.