The United States relies on an immense, multi-faceted industrial base to meet its defense technology and equipment needs. One of the most important but least understood parts of this phenomenon is America’s growing reliance upon foreign suppliers to provide military hardware. Such dependence has the inherent potential to become a grave Achilles’ heel for the world’s preeminent armed forces – unless our overseas suppliers are true defense partners, reliable vendors trustworthy guardians of our technology, and fair competitors who provide the best value for the American taxpayer and the best products for American warfighters.
There are numerous examples of international companies, such as BAE Systems and the engine-maker Rolls Royce, that have demonstrated the promise of global competition. In turn, these companies have become valued partners in America’s security.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said at the moment of Europe’s largest aerospace company, the European Aeronautic, Defense and Space (EADS) consortium, which seeks to obtain a major role in the U.S. defense and homeland security market. Before it is allowed to do so, EADS needs to clean up its act.
A would-be partner will be difficult to trust if, for example, its government owner/sponsor and the locus of the corporate headquarters spies on this country, steals its secrets to the detriment of U.S. interests and uses bribery and other chicanery to undermine this country around the world. While EADS may not be directly responsible for such behavior, based on numerous sources – including a former director of the CIA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the European Parliament – there is no doubt that one of the governments that has such ties to EADS, France, has been.
Second, it would be dangerous for the United States to rely on the goods and services of a company that is part-owned by the Russian government, and in which Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin wants a say in the management.
Third, Congress will be hard-pressed to justify sending the tax dollars of American workers abroad, to pay subsidized European workers who belong to militantly anti-U.S. labor unions that express hatred of our country and what it stands for, and who back politicians who work within NATO to undermine U.S. defense interests.
Fourth, it is a challenge, at best, to trust a major foreign supplier who deliberately seeks to circumvent U.S. nonproliferation laws and thumbs its nose at Washington while selling military equipment, over the strongest U.S. objections, to America’s current and possibly future adversaries.
So, before EADS can become a U.S. defense partner, it and its owners must first prove themselves worthy of our trust.
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