Hon. Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and a four-time Wash100 Award winner, said “adversarial capital” continues to pose a threat to the defense industrial base (DIB) and the U.S. government should strengthen collaboration with industry groups and allied countries to avoid investments from foreign adversaries, FedScoop reported Thursday.
“They have bought critical national assets, whether that be in terms of intellectual property or whether that be technology development,” Lord said Thursday during a virtual event. “When we work with our partners and allies that’s an even stronger position” to steer clear of such investments.
She noted that coordinating with other countries is vital because China and other adversarial nations invest from shell companies to conceal the origin of their investments.
“Our adversaries are pretty smart, and they can often go to another country and have a shell organization,” she added.
Since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, the Department of Defense (DoD) noted that the majority critical supplies for the nation are developed overseas, exposing vulnerabilities within the U.S. Defense Industrial Base (DIB).
“We also identified where we had vulnerabilities and fragility in the industrial base — and a lot of that was where we had 100 percent dependency offshore, and especially when we were relying on nations who aren't particularly our partners and allies for critical items," Lord added.
As a result of COVID-19, DoD worked to further bolster its health and national defense. "We, therefore, were able to move out and make some investments in industrial capacity and throughput," Lord added.
There were two areas identified as being critical: rare earth minerals and microelectronics, which are both essential for weapon systems and the nation at large. Lord said the U.S. has some capacity for mining rare earth minerals domestically, but the U.S. depends mostly on China for processing.
To combat this, Lord added that the DoD will re-shore capability for the processing of rare earths, and develop a strategy to bridge programs of records and legacy systems.
Join Potomac Officers Club for its 5G Summit on Jan. 7th, 2021 to learn about the impact that innovative technologies and 5G integration have on the private and public sectors, the steps the federal agencies have taken to remain up to speed with the rapid advancement of technology, and the future programs, plans and priorities as the nation aligns with emerging technology.
Hon. Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment at the Department of Defense (DoD) and four-time Wash100 Award recipient, will be featured as the keynote speaker.