The entire US defense industry may find itself isolated
WASHINGTON, (BM) – Large US economic centers, such as San Francisco and New York, impose significant restrictions on public events in connection with the spread of coronavirus and strengthen quarantine measures. In this regard, the US military-industrial companies and the US Department of Defense are deciding on the cessation of work associated with the direct presence of employees in the workplace, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defense News report.
The volatile nature of the situation is reflected in a series of industry statements. This was not a big surprise for Capital Alpha Partners analyst Byron Callan, who noted that there are many opportunities that make defense companies able to work the same way as before.
“Maybe these calls are too early for many of these defense corporation guys. We enter the second week after a state of emergency is declared in the country. When spokesmen for US defense industry enterprises start receiving calls of a similar nature in April, they will definitely better understand what has happened in the past few weeks,” Byron Callan said.
Potentially, the consequences of the spread of coronavirus can include anything – from problems with the supply chain of components in the cooperation of collaborators to delays in the supply of finishing products – weapons and military equipment.
And even up to the subsequent rescue of entire industries, for example the aerospace industry, and the solution of problems with pensions, Kellan warned.
Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that the design of modern production facilities does not exclude the possibility of termination of work in an epidemic, but added that “for many of these workers in the conditions of infection, there is still the possibility of adequate social distance.”
“If you were at these enterprises, then they are not at all like sweatshops where employees are crowded and in non-ventilated places. Most jobs in the defense sector are mostly automated,” he said.
“I think that engineering and design personnel will suffer the most, where employees tend to work in more office-like spaces,” he emphasized.
The Pentagon, Defense News writes, is beginning to understand what the upcoming strokes from the coronavirus infection might look like.
Senior Procurement Officer Ellen Lord is in daily contact with the Aerospace Industry Association, the National Defense Industry Association, the Professional Services Council, the National Manufacturers Association and the Chamber of Commerce. This is done to “ensure the security, reliability and stability of our military-industrial base” and “receive feedback on the impact of COVID-19 on the US defense industry,” said a spokesman for the US Department of Defense.
The first meeting on these issues took place this week on Tuesday, March 17, chaired by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy Jennifer Santos. It was attended by representatives of the industrial policy department, the defense order management agency, the defense logistics agency, and the price and defense contract department.
One of the potentially vulnerable parts of the US military-industrial complex is the ongoing modernization of the US nuclear arsenal, which, as stated by the head of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) a month ago, is approaching a “point of no return”, even if there are slight delays in further modernization efforts.
On March 17, Capt. Bill Clinton, the head of STRATCOM public relations, said the command “is confident that along with industry partners it is able to support production related to the modernization of our nuclear forces, taking all appropriate precautions to keep the workforce safe” .
Clinton assured that the United States will be able to continue the modernization of nuclear forces and complete it in a timely manner, as previously planned.
Over the past few days, Defense News has addressed a number of key players in the US defense industry, whose production lines could be most directly affected by the coronavirus.
The company BAE Systems, which is engaged in developments in the field of information security and aerospace, announced the availability of reliable plans to ensure the continued operation of their business. “We continue to ensure that we provide a safe working environment for our employees, customers and suppliers, while minimizing the impact of the virus on our operations. We also asked our suppliers and contractors to take measures appropriate to those that we have implemented to protect our employees,” said company spokeswoman Kelly Golden.
Boeing (the largest manufacturer of aviation space and military equipment), according to the orders of governments at various levels, transferred all employees who can effectively carry out their work at home, in a remote format. How long this state of affairs will last is unclear.
“The company has improved cleaning procedures in workrooms, public spaces, and on high-touch surfaces. We assess the safety of all our common areas and their compliance with the instructions of the local leadership of the relevant state and national government, since we are constantly monitoring this situation, which is currently under development, ”said the representative of the corporation Larry Chambers.
The shipbuilding companies Electric Boat and Fincantieri Marine Group have taken the path of increasing the level of sanitary and hygienic requirements, and have also tightened the norms of social distance for their employees.
At the same time, Fincantieri stated that employees with respiratory symptoms are not allowed to work, and the company itself has suspended all international trips and non-critical domestic business trips. In addition, employees are prohibited from gathering in large groups of people.
The Lockheed Martin military-industrial corporation allowed its employees to work from home and independently carry out quarantine activities. In those production sectors where this is not possible, the company recommended the use of flexible schedules and alternative management mechanisms.
“There are currently no specific implications for our business or component supply chain. We will continue to monitor the situation and coordinate customer interactions in the event of a problem,” said Lockheed Martin spokesman Trent Perrotto.
Northrop Grumman, an electronics and information technology, aerospace and shipbuilding corporation, has stopped travel, restricted company visits, reduced density in workshops, and increased safety distances between workers. Raytheon also went the same way.
“Of course, at this stage, representatives of the American defense community answered questions about problems with the spreading coronavirus with general comments,” Konstantin Makienko, deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Gazeta.ru. At the same time, according to the expert, it is noticeable how much attention is paid in the USA to the fight against a new infection. In Russia, such a survey nationwide, the leadership of defense enterprises have not yet been conducted.
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