Welcome to US direct investment in the military-industrial complex.
President Donald Trump has approved direct federal investment in suppliers of American bomb parts and chemicals, part of as much as $250 million in direct investments by the Pentagon, reports The Military Times.
The government funding for those suppliers, under the Defense Production Act, is meant to lift a subsector of the defense-industrial base that the Pentagon deems weak. It’s also a significant step in broader plans within the administration to remedy fragile markets and foreign dependencies among the military’s suppliers, according to the Times.
“There will be many more of these to come to address gaps and vulnerabilities in the defense-industrial base,” Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Industrial Policy, said. “This is exactly what we should be doing and an example of how the administration is more attentive to the issue.”
“A lot of these companies have only one customer, and they became fragile due to sequestration,” Navarro said. “The need this package addresses is to move to advanced manufacturing where some of the processes in use are from 60, 70, 80 years ago.”
Navarro said these investments would not be “ongoing aid” but more akin to “venture capital and seed money” to help munitions manufacturers, in some cases, make the leap to advanced manufacturing techniques.
The White House announced Wednesday that Trump signed four memos that the Pentagon would take action to strengthen the supply chain for precursor materials, inert materials, energetic materials and advanced manufacturing techniques for the production of chemicals, reports the Times.