The Department of Defense has doubled down on measures to limit contractors’ use of aircraft components, electronics and raw materials from China and other adversaries in an effort to safeguard the defense industry supply chain from potential vulnerabilities or disruptions, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
In early September, DOD decided to halt the acceptance of Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets that have engine components produced by Honeywell from Chinese-sourced alloys.
Deliveries are expected to continue following the issuance of a waiver; however, the discovery prompted an increase in supply chain focus.
William LaPlante, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment at DOD and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, pointed to an ongoing investigation to determine if the aircraft security or airworthiness remain uncompromised despite the use of Chinese alloys, and said it is expected to show positive results.
One DOD effort to enhance supply chain visibility is leveraging artificial intelligence for the analysis of the origin of parts and materials in real time as the department seeks to limit ties between defense contractors and Chinese suppliers.
The Pentagon also tapped Australian company Lynas Rare Earths to help build a refinery in Texas using minerals sourced from the country. The effort seeks to reestablish domestic production of technology minerals as the U.S. currently imports 80 percent of rare-earth elements for weapons-guidance systems from China.
Join the Potomac Officers Club’s Defense Technology Summit on Oct. 25 at Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner to hear from William LaPlante, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment at DOD, and other department leaders as they share insight into trends driving military strategies, budgets and priorities.