Background

The Department of Defense is accepting comments through Oct. 13 to inform a report on supply chains for the defense industrial base, including key vulnerabilities and potential courses of action to strengthen the defense industrial base. The DoD states that this effort will build on an October 2018 report on assessing and strengthening the manufacturing defense industrial base and supply chain resiliency of the U.S. as well as the congressionally mandated annual industrial capabilities report.

The DoD has listed a number of topics on which it is particularly interested, including the following.

- Select kinetic capabilities. This includes precision guided munitions, hypersonics, and directed energy. The DoD notes that key components (e.g., critical energetics, microelectronics) are almost exclusively produced by foreign entities, including adversarial nations.

Energy storage/batteries. The DoD states that energy storage is critical to all kinetic capabilities and is an evolving requirement, and that defense-unique requirements with low domestic production volumes create supply chain risk and high local costs.

- Microelectronics. Similar to energy storage, microelectronics are vital components used in nearly all defense systems. Defense-specific challenges arise from acquisition processes, obsolescence, and the need for secure suppliers. The DoD intends to focus on military-specific microelectronics requirements and the ongoing challenges between commercial and defense requirements.

- Castings and forgings. Manufacturing is dependent on casting and forging capabilities and capacity. The DoD indicates that an overall decrease in domestic capability and capacity limits the industrial base’s ability to develop, sustain, or expand production, and that expanding domestic capabilities will reinforce efforts to onshore commercial manufacturing.

- Other. Any workforce, cyber posture, interoperability, small business, and manufacturing matters as they relate to the topics above.

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