Defense firm consolidations have
killed competition for government contracts.
The industrial base must expand, says Hicks.
Gaitlin M. Kenney / Defense One
(February 15, 2022) — Just days after the US Federal Trade Commission scuttled a high-profile defense acquisition on antitrust grounds, Pentagon leaders underlined their own concerns about waning competition in the defense industrial base.
On Tuesday, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks released “State of Competition in the Defense Industrial Base,” fulfilling an executive order signed last July by President Joe Biden. The 30-page report says decades of industry consolidation have reduced beneficial competition for contracts, and lays out five recommendations: strengthen merger oversight; address intellectual property limitations; increase new entrants; increase opportunities for small business; and implement sector-specific supply chain resiliency plans.
“A vibrant, competitive and diverse defense industrial base will be critical to our success,” Hicks said in a prepared statement. “As DOD works to innovate, bring new technologies into our supplier base, and develop the workforce of the future, American small businesses and our US industrial base must expand not only to improve resiliency, but to ensure we are able to meet the needs of our warfighters for tomorrow’s high-tech challenges.”
The report cites the consolidation of the defense sector going back to the 1990s, when the United States had 51 prime aerospace and defense contractors and now only has five: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.
This consolidation means there is less competition and more of a risk regarding supplies of equipment and weapons. In 1990, 13 contractors supplied tactical missiles; now there are three. Only one contractor, General Dynamics, makes tracked combat vehicles, down from three in 1990. Just two companies still build surface warships—General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls—down from eight in 1990.
“Such consolidation leaves DOD increasingly reliant on a handful of companies for critical defense capabilities,” a White House statement on the report said. “It also hurts taxpayers, as companies no longer feel the competitive pressure to innovate or perform at the highest level to win contracts.”
For now, the report says the Defense Department will “assess” how it evaluates mergers “with adequate attention to risks to national security.”And the Defense Department will work with the FTC and Department of Justice “to further examine the impact of consolidation on the functioning of the defense market.”.
Small businesses have struggled to win defense contracts. Their presence in the defense industrial base has shrunk by over 40 percent in the past decade, Hicks has said previously.
“The data shows that if we continue along the same trend, we could lose an additional 15,000 suppliers over the next 10 years,” she said.
The last recommendation is for the department to work on ensuring resilience in the supply chain for five priority industrial base sectors: casting and forgings, missiles and munitions, energy storage and batteries, strategic and critical materials, and microelectronics.
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• Finland signs F-35 paperwork; and more.
Nicolas D — It is ironic that the Pentagon is pointing at consolidation and monopolization, which is an integral feature of neoliberal capitalism, as one of the reasons the capitalist war machine has lost its military superiority.
The US Needs More Military Arms Makers
Andre Sheldon / For the Children and Call to Women
“It is time to counter the old vision of the world with a new one based on reason and cooperation; it is time for a truly feminist foreign policy. The fate of the earth depends on it.” — Beatrice Finn, The Nation
(February 16, 2022) — More military arms? This is shameless!
The obstacles to change are enormous — economics, corporations, the military, people’s mindset, and the male, dominant, patriarchal, militaristic way of solving problems — I call a Behemoth! It is not any one person’s fault. Men did not consciously decide to be this way.
The macho, male way of doing things is entrenched in our psyches. It will not change unless there is a stimulus, usually an incident or a catastrophe. Let’s not let that happen! We can be proactive!
To create change we need something different and special. There are TWO GREAT POWERS at our fingertips if we choose to utilize them and not “bury them in the text.” One is Nonviolence. The other is Women! Put the two together and watch what happens.
Read Jonathan Granoff’s article (long but worth it) about eliminating nuclear weapons and Nonviolence! Granoff addresses creating change.
Jonathan Schell wrote about nonviolence in the “Unconquerable World, and in particular, wrote about Women (only one paragraph, but perhaps the most profound in the whole book):
“Of equal or greater importance is the feminist revolution, itself a part of the much broader democratic revolution of modern times. The public world has hitherto been run by males, and it is clear that, whatever their virtues and vices, their way of doing things has reached an impasse.
Experts can dispute whether the unmistakable male proclivity for war is innate or learned, the product nature or nurture, but one thing we cannot doubt is that historically organized violence has been bound up with the male way of being human – with men’s needs, men’s desires, and men’s interests.
It is no less clear that historically the pursuits of women have been more peaceful. Could it be that nature in her wisdom created two genders in order to have a “second sex” in reserve, so to speak, for just such an emergency as the one we now face?
There may be a less violent way of doing things that is rooted in female tradition and now will move to the fore, together with the gender that created it.”
Women have already been uniting and have practiced mobilizing as evidenced by the Women’s March on Washington, Women marched in Jerusalem, Women Crossed the DMZ in Korea, Women in India, the #MeToo movement, Portland, Oregon, and most recently in Belarus. A GMofNV is designed to “harness the power” of women and nonviolence to create trust and respect between nations and people and create the atmosphere to re-allocate military spending.
If women do not come to the forefront to demand nonviolence and no war, there will be NO PEACE and NO CHANGE! The movement is not just for women. Men are included.
The time is here for women to lead and promote a GLOBAL MOVEMENT of NONVIOLENCE, For the Children (GMofNV). It is not exclusive to women! Men are included.
A GMofNV is a people movement to stop war. The people in every country will be asked to demand that their own government disarm and renounce war as the political goal!
A GMofNV is also a movement of good will. It is designed to change the consciousness of the world and socialize the children. Forgiveness, love, respect, compassion, are all included. It is also a promotion and outreach campaign to enlist people other than the choir. The motivation for everyone to unite, proactively, is the welfare of the “children” and to save lives!
THE TIME IS HERE. We need every idea!
COVID, COP26, and the threat of war in Ukraine have opened the door for a people movement! The whole world is talking about preventing the war and reports show people are nervous about the future. What better time than now to begin a peace movement? This is the time for leaders to unite and enlist the people of the world to create change!
A GMofNV is ready now. Please investigate. It is not just about adhering to nonviolence, but make nonviolence the goal! Where is the curiosity about the details? Where is the scholarly interest in another option? I would love to discuss the plans and strategy of how to begin the movement immediately. Thank you.
Peace and Love,
Andre Sheldon is the Founder and Director of Global Strategy of Nonviolence, For the Children Facilitator, and CALL to WOMEN, a World-Wide Unity Campaign.