U.S. Defense Electronics Supply Chain is Thin and Lagging Dangerously

At this point, most TV networks have been reporting on the microchip shortages enough that consumers are starting to understand there is a problem. There are brand new trucks sitting in parking lots across Michigan made by GM or Ford that are lacking hardware needed to get on the road. But what is more serious is the thought that our own military could also be forcing shortages or have access to electronics that coming from other countries that go into our weapons systems.

Gutting The Supply Chain

From 2000-2015, the U.S. lost more than 80% of its electronic manufacturing to Asia. That has created an outdated and vulnerable supply chain where it’s like a component could touch three counties before final delivery to the U.S.

Supply chain stories aren’t sexy. Maybe that’s why the dangerously fragile, technologically lagging American defense electronics supply chain isn’t registering on the national security risk meter. But it should. The U.S. is facing shortages and security vulnerabilities with printed circuit boards and integrated circuit substrates crucial to the sexiest weapons systems we have.

“When we say that the problem is urgent we really mean it. It’s falling on deaf ears,” says Todd Brassard, chief operating officer of Calumet Electronics, a Michigan-based printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer. – Forbes

Domestic Production In Sight

A recent poll showed that 83% of U.S. manufacturers are likely to reshore at least a part of their production and that will undoubtedly give some momentum to rebuilding the supply chain.  This was a massive jump from 54% pre-covid but the pandemic put the biggest spotlight on just how much the U.S. depends on critical products that we could be making here.

The DoD has funded raw earth material mining recently and a bill was recently passed to fund investments in microchips. But the real answers are inspiring people to make things in the USA while introducing the people who already do to supply chain buyers.

Advancing The Conversation of American Manufacturing

The Made in America organization, founded by Don Buckner, is hosting Made in America 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky starting on Manufacturing Day, Oct 1st. This trade show will feature exclusively Made in USA brands and U.S. manufacturers and allow buyers to see what’s still made here.

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