Henry Walter

Document Type



The Defense Industrial Base is the river from which American military dominance flows. However, the Industrial Base is just as—if not more—vulnerable to floods and droughts as a typical industry. Tracing the sector’s historical and economic foundations helps illuminate existing gaps and strengths that can present strategic challenges and benefits. This paper aims to connect those trends to existing and future capabilities. Although the Industrial Base will take time to fill the demands of the new $700-plus billion defense budget, the more concerning strategic issues are that the budget, and subsequently, the Industrial Base are leaving a gap in medium-term capability development and that discretionary budgets are likely to be overwhelmed by mandatory spending in the coming decades.