WASHINGTON – US president Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order this afternoon to start a comprehensive government review of the defense industrial base, including labor and the defense supply chain, according to published reports.

The purpose of the review is to locate and address possible weaknesses in the US defense manufacturing base, including fledgling firms that could leave holes in the US weapons system supply chain.

The US has lost more than 60,000 factories and more than five million manufacturing jobs since 2001, according to Peter Navarro, the White House National Trade Council. Certain military-grade semiconductors and printed circuit boards have become endangered species, Navarro said. Flat-panel displays for aircraft and the processing of rare earth elements "have left our shores entirely."

"The ability of the US to manufacture and obtain goods critical to our national security could be hampered by an inability to obtain essential components, which may not themselves be directly related to national security," said Alexander Gray of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

The review, led by the Pentagon, is expected to conclude in 270 days. It will be conducted along with the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security, in addition to other government agencies.


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