Pentagon Outsourcing is a Major Problem

The office of Connecticut Representative Chris Murphy (D) released a report last week that found that since 2007, the Pentagon has been granted hundreds of thousands of waivers to the “Buy American” law, costing the U.S. over half a million jobs.

Since 2007, the Department of Defense has been issued over 161,000 waivers to the “Buy American” law, sending $53.5 billion overseas and costing America 620,000 American jobs the report found.

“This report confirms what I have been hearing from manufacturers across Connecticut. Work that used to be done in Connecticut is now being done overseas, and it’s costing us jobs here at home. Far too often, Buy American is a nice slogan, but not a practice in our federal agencies. We may not make every piece needed for a major project, but we certainly could be doing a better job of looking to American companies first for goods and services,” Murphy said.

The report found that the Pentagon often exploits loopholes in the law. For instance, a waiver can be granted if the equipment is set to be used overseas.

Another commonly used loophole allows the Pentagon to seek a waiver if the product is not made in the U.S.

Oftentimes, the Pentagon will seek, and be granted, such a waiver even if there are domestic manufacturers that can produce the goods.

Such was the case when the Air Force recently sought a waiver to the law to purchase bronze made outside of the U.S. for a newly constructed base in Alaska.

“Instead of looking at my company to supply the products that the Air Force needs, they issued a waiver, saying that these products were only made in China,” Jamie Gregg, President of Colonial Bronze, said in a statement. “Careless investigations into American made product availability like these are not only hurting my company and the families we employ, they are destroying U.S. manufacturing.”

Not only does the Pentagon’s cavalier approach to the “Buy American” law cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, but it puts the nation’s national security in jeopardy.

During WWII, factories pumped out supplies necessary for the war effort. After losing 42,400 American factories since 2001, according to The American Prospect, a similar effort may not be possible.

Another problem with losing precious manufacturing is the fact that technology, innovation and know-how tend to follow production. So as manufacturing goes to places like China, India and Mexico, the key technologies, many of them crucial to national security, go with them.

“We need to stop these waivers so that we can stop the exodus of jobs out of Connecticut and out of America. Every time a waiver is issued, so is a pink slip,” John Harrity, who heads GrowJobsCT, said in a statement. “We have to stop this and we thank Congressman Murphy for taking real action.”

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