Secrecy News

Intelligence and the Decline of U.S. Manufacturing

The U.S. intelligence community will prepare a National Intelligence Estimate on the implications of the continuing decline in U.S. manufacturing capacity, said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) citing recent news reports.

“Last month Forbes reported that the continued erosion of the U.S. manufacturing base has gotten so serious that the Director of National Intelligence has begun preparation of a National Intelligence Estimate… to assess the security implications of the decline of American manufacturing,” said Rep. Schakowsky, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“Our growing reliance on imports and lack of industrial infrastructure has become a national security concern,” said Rep. Schakowsky.  She spoke at a March 16 news conference (at 28:10) in opposition to the pending U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

The Forbes report referenced by Rep. Schakowsky was “Intelligence Community Fears U.S. Manufacturing Decline,” by Loren Thompson, February 14. The decision to prepare an intelligence estimate was first reported by Richard McCormack in “Intelligence Director Will Look at National Security Implications of U.S. Manufacturing Decline,” Manufacturing & Technology News, February 3.

Rep. Schakowsky told the newsletter Inside U.S. Trade (March 25) that she hopes a “declassified portion” of the NIE will be publicly released.

But according to the Congressional Research Service, that may be unlikely.  “There seems to be an emerging consensus that publicly releasing NIEs, or even unclassified summaries, has limitations. Some of the nuances of classified intelligence judgments are lost and there are concerns that public release of an unclassified summary of a complicated situation does not effectively serve the legislative process.” See “Intelligence Estimates: How Useful to Congress?” (pdf), January 6, 2011.

“With 14 million Americans out of a job we should not be considering a trade deal that will ship additional jobs overseas,” said Rep. Schakowsky, referring to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

“Instead, we need to work to rebuild the American manufacturing sector, creating jobs at home. And instead of approving FTAs (free trade agreements) that will offshore more American jobs, we need to establish a trade policy that benefits American workers and the entire American economy,” she said.

The CRS (pdf) cited a study which concluded that overall changes in aggregate U.S. employment attributable to the US-Korea agreement “would be negligible given the much larger size of the U.S. economy compared to the South Korean economy. However, while some sectors, such as livestock producers, would experience increases in employment, others such as textile, wearing apparel, and electronic equipment manufacturers would be expected to experience declines in employment.” Accordingly, the “U.S. beef sector” supports the agreement, while some labor unions oppose it.

See “The Proposed U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications,” Congressional Research Service, March 1, 2011.  See also “Free Trade Agreements: Impact on U.S. Trade and Implications for U.S. Trade Policy,” January 6, 2011.

7 thoughts on “Intelligence and the Decline of U.S. Manufacturing

  1. I completely agree that we need to shift to a skilled labor market here and not put so much effort into these trade agreements that seem to help everyone but us.

  2. I agree, and I imagine many Americans do. But we can request change, and object to policy till the cows come home, nothing is going to change with the current system. Our government and its military is owned or controlled by the corporate elite. The President and members congress do as they please regardless of law or the constitution and without regard for the people.

  3. I’ve been reading about this problem since the 1970s.

    But wall Street doesn’t care about our manufacturing base. Bernanke doesn’t need factories for him and the big WS execs to roll in big bucks for themselves.

    Since Bernanke doesn’t care about this issue, Obama is not going to do anything about it.

    Like every president since Regan, he is going to talk about how great American productivity is while selling working Americans down the river to the Chinese.

    And the working people of America – (and I’m one of them) keep falling for the pretty speeches, again and again.

    Hogwash. We should be staging a million-strong sit in of the Fed right now. And then let’s see if Obama and Hillary direct the US Army to fire directly on us. Let’s see what the hell they are made of.

    That would be the actual American spirit in action.

  4. the nationalist stuff doesn’t help anyone, especially not the ‘american worker’. there is only one worker- the world worker. until american unions can drop their nationalism and show some solidarity with unions in other countries, there will be no progress on the labor front.

  5. This is something that needed doing before all these free trade agreements were initiated and shows the lack of cohesiveness within our government structure to produce anything of immediate or future value for our country as a whole.

  6. I’m with yogi-one on this. The issue has been common knowledge for 40 years.
    It is part and parcel of the decimation of Unions, plain and simple. Was it worth it America?

  7. One thing this report will have to take into consideration — the two tiers of US manufacturing labor. The country has tossed away non-military domestic manufacturing. But arms manufacturing is protected by an army of corporate lobbyists who are not so much concerned with middle class jobs and capability as preserving the part of the profit structure coming out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

    What happens then is a cruel trick on workers. If they’re in non-military production they’ve been deemed not cost effective, too expensive. So we have workers who have to engage in a kind of musical chairs game to vie for the smaller number of jobs in arms manufacturing because the same corporations can rely on taxpayer defense funding to answer all costs.

    General Electric — in the news recently — is a great example of a company the seems to practice a policy totally at odds with American security. It pays no tax, shipped non-military manufacturing overseas costing jobs, but rallies its lobbyists to continue fighting for DoD money for a redundant engine, canceled, for the Joint Strike Fighter. It has two tiers of workers and manufacturing, neither congruent with the national interest.

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