The U.S. defense industrial base is essential to our economic and national security, and creates millions of American jobs, especially manufacturing jobs. The defense sector accounts for more than 3% of Gross Domestic Product and is important for the health and competitiveness of many domestic industries, including aerospace, steel and aluminum, electronics, and communications.
The U.S. defense industrial base provides high-wage and high-skill jobs, many of which are unionized, that generate more than $155 billion in wages and benefits, and provide significant tax revenues to fund essential government services.
A healthy defense industrial base also ensures that America can supply the weapons and materials we need to stay secure. The United States faces supply chain vulnerabilities in systems across all four branches of the military, on items including rare earth minerals, high-tech magnets, armor plate, specialty metals, semiconductors, telecommunications equipment, machine tools and more.
The Department of Defense (DOD) is the world’s largest purchaser of manufactured products. In the last decade, the DOD has spent more than $200 billion of American taxpayers’ money to purchase foreign-made goods.
Many of these foreign purchases by the Department of Defense ignore the intent and spirit of Buy American by deliberately exploiting loopholes in existing requirements, while some are simply direct and flagrant violations of the legal requirements of Buy American.
The impact of these foreign purchases has been the loss of good-paying jobs, depriving many Americans of a path to the middle class and reducing much-needed tax revenue for strained government budgets.
Reliance on foreign sources for sensitive defense technologies and materials not produced in the United States threatens our security and compromises the competitiveness of our industrial base.
To fight for American jobs and American security, we will:
- Vigorously support eliminating all loopholes to Buy American laws and demand that all goods purchased for defense procurement are manufactured in the United States;
- Strengthen and expand measures that apply to defense procurement and support our defense industrial base, including Buy American, the Defense Production Act, the Jones Act, the Specialty Metals Clause and the Berry Amendment; and
- Support measures to rectify U.S. dependence on any foreign-sourced critical military supplies and systems, including government support for establishing U.S. production capacity.