Maybe I’m just a little old school, but U.S. taxpayers deserve better than Made-in-China parts in America’s most technologically advanced weapon systems. But wait, there are also a few laws that prohibit U.S. defense manufacturing in places such as China — an economic competitor as well as military adversary.
According to several recent news reports, Obama Administration have waived many laws and regulations to give defense contractors the green light to manufacture certain parts and components in China for use in the F-35 jet fighter program. Some reports chalk it off to cost savings, others say time. No matter the reasons, it is a dumb idea.
If any of this is true, it will cast more China clouds to the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative. They’ve done a lot of good, but when it comes to China there is a certain naiveté that permeates the bureaucracy that is somewhat alarming. And at a policy level, the Chinese do not take us very seriously. The Chinese, and their lobbyists in this town, are constantly trying to lower and eliminate export controls and other restrictions on dual-use and military technology. What they cannot secure legally, they steal.
The House Armed Services Committee Members will hold oversight hearings later this year, likely in March when the General Accounting Office (GAO) reports back to the Committee on this matter. The Chinese cannot be trusted when it comes to high-end manufacturing of any kind that end up in military equipment. U.S. laws and regulations should do just that.
Why would the Pentagon play around with any of this? From discussions I’ve had with a few Congressional staffers about it, folks up there intend to find out. While they are at it, they should reign in some of the waiver authority they’ve granted to the executive branch throughout several decades in this field.