Alliance for American Manufacturing Highlights Steel Crisis as Threat to National Security

Written by Sandy Williams

The surge in steel imports is a threat to national security according to a new paper released by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

AAM says steel is essential to national security, as it equips the military and builds infrastructure. The report’s findings were commented on at the Congressional Steel Caucus this week.

“Steel from Northwest Indiana and across America is used in our aircraft carriers, armor plate, submarines, and countless other types of military vehicles and equipment,” said Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), vice chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus. “As the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I can attest that steel is an essential component of our national security.”

“The steel import crisis is not only thrashing our economy and upending the job market, it is a direct hit to our national security. We can never fall into a position of relying on foreign government-owned enterprises to meet American steel needs,” said Steel Caucus Chairman Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.). “The Congressional Steel Caucus achieved historic legislative victories in recent months but we can’t rest on our laurels, we must eliminate subsidized foreign steel imports flooding the markets.”

In the new paper, Steel Import Surge Threatens U.S. National Security, AAM says the surge of steel imports is “alarming” and poses a threat to the long-term viability of the steel sector which supports U.S. military equipment.

“Put simply, if the United States’ ability to produce steel is compromised, it will be forced to rely on potentially hostile or uncooperative foreign governments to support its military, preparedness, and disaster response needs.”

Heavy military equipment is steel intensive. Each Abrams tank needs 22 tons of steel plate; a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier requires 50,000 tons of steel plate; aircraft control cables on almost all aircraft, including fighter jets and military transport, require steel wire rope; steel plate is used to protect troops from IEDs in the Middle East and elsewhere. The list goes on.

“History demonstrates that domestic producers have been consistently willing to do what needs to be done to meet the often unique needs of our armed forces without delay. On the other hand, reliance on unsettled foreign economies—or worse, strategic competitors—results in uncertain supply for critical national requirements, especially in a crisis.

“We do not build a steel plant in an emergency… we rely on it,” said Mario Longhi, President and CEO, US Steel Corporation in March, 2015.

During the global steel overcapacity hearings this week, Tim Timken, Chairman, CEO and President of Timken Steel noted the role his company plays in national defense.

“We also play a role in the national security of this country. You find our steel in every kind of military vehicle and military ordnance. In fact just recently we partnered with the U.S. Air Force to improve the strength and toughness of its “bunker busting” bombs. The result was a better steel at a lower price, reducing the cost to the American taxpayer. Military steels are a small part of our overall business, but the innovation we bring to the table is advancing our nation’s security.”

“We cannot sit idly by as our most dangerous strategic competitors rob us of the capability that ensure our weapons and equipment have a reliable source of steel for the future,” said Brigadier General John Adams (U.S. Army, Retired). “The time is now to address this national security challenge to our domestic steel production capability.”

Steel Import Surge Threatens U.S. National Security can be accessed here.

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