January 24, 2018

The US Navy’s New Frigate Should Jumpstart a Revitalization of the Defense Industrial Base

By Jerry Hendrix

The United States Navy requires a frigate. Building this warship will strengthen our depleted naval fleet and reenergize a vital sector of the nation’s defense industrial base, especially in the Midwest “rust-belt” region of the nation.

In July, the Navy issued a request for information to shipbuilding manufacturers for a new frigate. Officials said they want a “mature design” — in other words, a proven ship. The service will even consider a foreign warship, so long as it is built in the United States by Americans. The United States has not been a global leader in shipbuilding for a generation. The new frigate program is an opportunity to bring new designs, new construction techniques, lower prices, and higher efficiency back to the U.S.shipbuilding industry. The frigate program also gives the Pentagon and contractors an opportunity to take a wider strategic look at the nation’s defense industrial base.

Such a strategic look at America’s defense industrial base was last performed by the Eisenhower Administration. Under Project Solarium, small teams of experts examined strategies for confronting the Soviet Union, and made specific and detailed recommendations for investing in the defense industrial base. A key component of their findings was that the nation must establish critical redundancies within a dispersed defense industrial base to ensure that the nation could continue to defend itself in the event of a massive Soviet attack.

Read the full op-ed in Defense One.

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