Issue Briefs

Pentagon Report Paints Grim Picture Of America’s Industrial Decline (From Forbes)

Pentagon Report Paints Grim Picture Of America’s Industrial Decline (From Forbes)

Loren B. Thompson

January 13th, 2020

On January 12 the Department of Defense released its 2020 assessment of U.S. industrial capabilities. It is alarming compendium of decay that signals FDR’s arsenal of democracy is on its last legs. From shipbuilding to machine tools to semiconductors, the sinews of American economic and military strength are gradually draining away to other nations, particularly those in East Asia. The notion that America could surge military production in response to an emergency today the way it did in World War Two is a fantasy: too many skills have been lost, too many offshore dependencies have accumulated. It seems that President Trump was right to put industrial policy back on the national agenda, and that President Biden will need to do the same thing. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.

The views and opinions expressed in this issue brief are those of the author.

Loren B. Thompson is a Senior Adviser at GPI, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.