Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Made in America: why the US should protect its own

America’s status as the world’s superpower was established in no small part from the strength and talent of our men and women in uniform. However, this cannot simply be attributed to exceptional training; we would be amiss if we failed to recognize the American companies who develop and build the equipment that our men and women use every day to ensure our national security. American ingenuity has kept us at the forefront of military technology that helps keep our soldiers safe. It is not only key to our military strength, but also to the strength of our economy.

Unfortunately, a troubling trend has made it way into the industry. In the name of a “free market” and “fair competition,” foreign companies have begun winning defense contracts at the peril of American companies. The competition is by no means “fair,” and all that is “free” is the free-ride foreign companies are getting when they receive subsidies from their governments. Because foreign companies receive money from the government, they are able to offer artificially low prices when they bid for contracts against American companies, who do not receive government aid.

We are seeing this played out right now, as Kansas-based Hawker Beechcraft competes for an Air Force contract against the Brazilian company Embrear. Embraer publically acknowledges that it receives assistance from the Brazilian government. And this is not an isolated incident – just a few weeks ago Boeing was awarded a similar contract over EADS, it’s European counterpart, but only after a controversial prolonged fight where Boeing had to overcome EADS’ unfair advantage due to government subsidies.

As our country continues to struggle to bounce back from recession, we need to ask ourselves: Should our defense spending be used to protect 1,400 American jobs, or should we allow a foreign company to produce planes in Brazil, ship the parts to the U.S., assemble them in Florida, and stamp them  “Made in America?”

Congress and the Pentagon need to know that Americans are not okay with outsourcing our military manufacturing or our national security.  The idea of supporting a company whose government has provided no assistance or support to the U.S. in fighting terrorism around the globe? The answer seems pretty clear. Support keeping America strong, and tell Washington to stop outsourcing our jobs and security.

Guest Blog by Emily McGann

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