Will DoD cuts hit board industry?

There’s always a chance that Defense Secretary Robert Gates could actually get the budget trimming that he detailed last month. But it’s tough to eliminate any of the programs that were funded during the doubling of military spending after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Whether Gates suggestions for cuts would impact printed board manufacturers is questionable. There’s such a strong push to ensure that domestic fabricators remain strong that Congress has mandated for DoD to establish an Executive Agent to monitor this area. Another factor that bodes well for the printed board industry is that much of Gates’ focus is on cutting bureaucracy, including a glut of generals and admirals and cutting health care costs.

Down the road, his proposal to trim shipment levels for ships and aircraft would reduce the need for electronics. Whether that will happen is also questionable. Whenever the Pentagon tries to trim something back, Congress steps in to prevent any budget cutting.

The alternate engine program for the Joint Strike Fighter is a perfect example. There’s almost no one in the defense industry who feels there’s a need to add the complexity of supporting two engines in one fighter line. However, Congressional leaders representing regions that will benefit from continuing work won’t allow cuts to happen.

DoD actions profoundly affect the U.S. electronics supply chain due to the heavy reliance of the U.S. electronic interconnect industry and its suppliers on the defense market. The defense market comprises the largest printed board sector in the U.S. and as a result, all DoD decisions regarding the defense market significantly affect the electronic interconnect industry and its suppliers.

Companies in the electronic interconnect industry can learn from other electronics companies by influencing their elected officials to support them. Come to IPC Capitol Hill Day to influence your legislators to ensure the future competitiveness of U.S. technology-based businesses, assist in the sustainability and growth of 21st century manufacturing jobs in America, and facilitate the innovations necessary for the electronic interconnect industry to be able to compete in the global economy.

One Comment

  1. Posted May 21, 2010 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The House Armed Services Committee authorized spending $726 billion for defense in fiscal year 2011 including $159.3 billion more for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The defense authorization bill must be approved by the entire House, matched by a Senate version and signed by President Barack Obama before becoming law. This legislation sets defense policy, and money it authorizes cannot be spent if it is not in a separate appropriations measure.

    The bill (H.R. 5136), which passed the committee late last night by a 59-0 vote, creates a fund called Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Fund. If the bill is passed into law, the Rapid Innovation Fund will allow DoD to fund up to $500 million to spur, develop, and rapidly transition small business innovative ideas to our men and women in combat. These ideas, according to the Committee, “would cover key priority areas such as force protection, strategic communications, long‐range strike, cyber defense, tactical aircraft, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.”

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