US Navy's 'fragile' supply chain could depend on Russia and China for parts
America's Secretary of the Navy warned on Tuesday that the “fragile” supply chain for military warships could lead to a dependency on Russian and Chinese companies for critical components.
Richard Spencer, the US navy’s top civilian, told the Financial Times that he had ordered a review this year that found many contractors were reliant on single suppliers for certain high-tech and high-precision parts, increasing the likelihood that they would have to be procured from geostrategic rivals.
Spencer said the US was engaged in “great power competition” with other global rivals and that several of them “primarily Russia and China” were “in your supply chain, [which is] not to the best interests of what you’re doing.”
He said he was particularly concerned about China as he believed it was trying to “weaponise capital” through its Belt and Road Initiative.
“You go to a country in need, you fill that need which they are grateful for, but at some point do they turn around and go: ‘You know what, everybody out, we’re going to use this now [...] the keys are mine’?” Spencer said. “There’s nothing that prevents that.”
Spencer is also leading efforts to boost the domestic supply chain but they have been hampered by government shutdowns and haphazard federal budgeting.
“Right now, we’re sliding back into a [temporary budget extension], which is a bloody shame," he said.
"A lot of the progress we made we’ll try to hold but it will not be without really concentrated effort.”