Report Cites Weaknesses in Industries Vital to U.S. National Defense

U.S. industries tied to national defense face an “unprecedented set of challenges” that have weakened their ability to quickly make the aircraft, parts and other materiel the military would need to fight rivals such as China or Russia, according to a new White House report.

The vulnerabilities stem from factors including receding industrial capacity across the U.S. as well as what the administration terms the “aggressive industrial policies” of competitor nations, according to the report released Thursday, which The Wall Street Journal reviewed earlier this week.

. . . The entire list of vulnerabilities is classified, but the report highlights a few individual examples of potential problems: Limited sources of the fabric used to make troop tents and uniforms, and the availability of rare earth minerals—many of which are only available in China—used to make equipment such as radars.

The dwindling supply of American welders also leaves the defense industrial base at risk, said Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, who led the effort.

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