Numbers Matter: Defense Acquisition, U.S. Production Capacity, and Deterring China


What is the current state of production capacity across America’s industrial base, compared to adversaries such as the People’s Republic of China, which the U.S. military calls our principal pacing threat?

U.S. domestic production capacity is a shriveled shadow of its former self. Crucial categories of industry for U.S. national defense are no longer built in any of the 50 states. With just 25 well-constructed attacks, using any of a variety of means, an adversarial military planner could cripple much of America’s manufacturing apparatus for producing advanced weapons.

Under the current U.S. government approach, industry cannot meet production demands to support allies under fire and deter war in the Pacific. Using case studies of munitions and shipbuilding production, this analysis delineates the current state of affairs in the defense industrial base and provides pathways to mitigate, if not end, this strategic vulnerability.

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