Addressing issues in the defense supply chain will help build up the U.S. workforce, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) told Defense News in a wide-ranging interview. Norcross chairs the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces and is a member of a task force on supply chain vulnerabilities.

“As important as the materials are to a product, [building the blue-collar] workforce to produce it is just as important,” Norcross said. “The narrative in America has been that the only way to make it is go to college, and that’s extremely important for those who want to. But we still need welders and electricians, and those who can build our ships and our aircraft, and they’re not all PhDs or come from the Ivy League. Men and women in this country just need a chance to work in an area that builds our capacity.”

Norcross has advocated for increasing “Buy American” guidelines in defense spending and said he will continue that discussion during debate over the next defense authorization bill.

“I expect to have a ‘Buy American’ provision in there, and I’m told that our allies on the other side of the aisle will work with us,” he said.

Waterlivet Arsenal photo