The Impact of Globalization on The U.S. Defense Industrial Base
By: Jacques Gansler, William Lucyshyn, John Paul Rigilano
The nation’s military strategy, in large part, continues to depend on superior technology, highly qualified operational forces, and the ability to sustain those forces, in order to achieve its objectives. However, in spite of fact that the U.S. defense industrial base—and the global defense industrial base—have changed significantly since the end of the Cold War, current U.S. defense policy amounts to little more than the consolidation of numerous incremental changes that are often contradictory in their aims. The impacts of globalization on defense must be better understood so that policy-makers can better balance the requirements of defense industrial and trade policy with political, economic, and security considerations.
Globalization is the long-term, largely irreversible phenomenon involving the political, cultural, and economic merging of geographically dispersed groups of people across geopolitical lines (Defense Science Board [DSB], 1999). With the advent of modern transportation and communication technologies, the implications of globalization have grown exponentially. In the past, the U.S. industrial base would ramp-up production to meet the needs of the U.S. military, and then fade into the background when the conflict concluded. Throughout the Cold War, however, defense emerged as a permanent segment of America’s industrial base, providing dedicated development and production of systems, equipment, and supplies. Rather than mobilize the U.S. civilian economy for conflict, the military sought to develop sufficient permanent capacity within the defense industry to successfully engage in conflicts as they arose (Gansler, 1980).