Magazine article National Defense

Sen. Stevens Stresses Need for Robust U.S. Industrial Base

Magazine article National Defense

Sen. Stevens Stresses Need for Robust U.S. Industrial Base

Article excerpt

Support for a strong U.S. defense industrial base is now critical because military budgets have reached "dangerously low levels," according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK).

In a speech to nearly 1,000 NDIA members, Sen. Stevens said he supports allocating more defense funding to modernization of weapon systems. He addressed NDIAs annual blacktie awards banquet after accepting the association's Forrestal Award given in recognition of remarkable service in support of the defense industrial base.

Sen. Stevens said he is concerned that, if not funded properly, the industrial base may not remain robust enough to sustain U.S. forces in future wars. "We rarely hear discussions about raw material shortage or industrial surge capacity," he said.

"Military strength today is not merely military power but economic and industrial strength."

He also chided the Clinton administration for sending troops into harm's way on missions that do not challenge U.S. national interests. The president is now deploying soldiers on peacekeeping missions "for which our soldiers are not necessarily trained," said Sen. Stevens. These troops, he stressed, are at risk from "terrorism, civil wars, and ethnic strife. …

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