Elbridge Colby and Alexander Gray are exactly right that our defense supply chain needs strengthening (“America’s Industrial Base Isn’t Ready for War With China,” op-ed, Aug. 19). Emerging threats require a major increase in defense spending if we are going to retain deterrence.
These new defense dollars must be well-dispersed and targeted. Contrary to popular caricature, our defense industrial base is made up of producers both large and small. My state of Mississippi, for example, is home to an array of defense enterprises employing anywhere from a few dozen to thousands of workers. Many smaller producers provide niche components for vital systems.
Seemann Composites in Gulfport, Miss., is a good example. This family-owned business is the only U.S. firm that can produce resin-infused bow domes (nose cones) for Navy submarines. Taylor Machine offers industrial and logistical support to our military. U.S. Marine, Inc., another Mississippi company, is one of the few suppliers for highly-maneuverable craft for special operators—critical for contested environments.
There are thousands of companies across the country like these. We will need all of them and more to prevent a costly war in the Pacific. Congress should signal demand now so that these suppliers can invest in their workforce and boost capacity for the long haul.
This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Read it here.