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Defense Industry Leaders Discuss Challenges Facing DIB at House Committee Hearing

Defense industrial base

Defense Industry Leaders Discuss Challenges Facing DIB at House Committee Hearing

The defense industrial base lost approximately 17,000 companies in the past five years, according to David Norquist, president and CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association. Speaking at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, he also highlighted a more than 40 percent decline in the number of DIB workers.

Norquist, a past Potomac Officers Club speaker and a two-time Wash100 winner, said the defense industry had 3 million workers in 1985 but the number of employees dropped to 1.1 million in 2021. According to the NDIA executive,  a mismatch exists between the goals under the U.S. national strategies and how the DIB is postured, Nextgov reported.

Also present at the hearing were Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, and Eric Fanning, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association.

The industry leaders told lawmakers of the challenges facing the defense industry, including recruitment and retention, rising wage demands, the widening gap between job vacancies and available talent, and inconsistent appropriations and continuing resolutions.

A new NDIA report said current U.S. policies and financial investments are not designed to support a defense ecosystem built in response to a great power competition involving U.S. adversaries Russia and China.

The NDIA surveyed defense companies and learned that almost 50 percent of the entities find it “somewhat difficult” to do business with the Department of Defense. According to the report, small- and medium-sized businesses face greater challenges in navigating the barriers and costs associated with securing DOD contracts compared to larger firms.

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Category: Speaker News