The defense industrial base is an essential workforce and needs congressional support to address COVID-19 workforce complications, Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in a Defense News op-ed.

“These critical firms need financial support to the tune of about $11 billion to support more than 100,000 direct jobs,” she wrote. “Nor should the military have to take it out of hide, as suggested by some.”

Eaglen said that production inefficiencies as a result of the pandemic pose long-term threats to the defense, shipbuilding and aerospace industries, including subcontractors who provide textiles, body armor and other goods and services.

“The Pentagon’s request for more stimulus money is not a case of pork for primes,” Eaglen wrote. “[W]hile virtually all of the Pentagon’s missiles are built by two primes, 98% of the subcontractors making parts for U.S. munitions are the only source for these items. If these unique businesses fail, there may not be any replacements.”

Coronavirus relief aid talks between Congress and the White House have stalled.

Army Photo by Scott T. Sturkol