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Public Statements

The Keep America Secure Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to take a bold step to keep America secure and rebuild our domestic electronics sector. Today I am introducing the ``Keep America Secure Act,'' legislation that directs the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to only purchase electronic components that are manufactured in the United States. These electronic components--including computer chips, communications devices, and guidance systems--are used in crucial defense and homeland security equipment. This bill is the perfect complement to our ongoing efforts to enhance ``Buy American'' requirements and to ensure that all DoD and DHS equipment be Made-In-America.

If we are to maintain the most advanced military force, with the most advanced weaponry, we must have a dedicated stream of domestically produced parts. Regrettably, today this simply is not happening. Our armed forces dependence on foreign parts has major security ramifications. From missiles to computers, much of our crucial defense and homeland security equipment relies on sophisticated electronic components to function. We must act now to eliminate our reliance on foreign electronic components in our defense systems.
In May 2012 the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded a yearlong investigation that found a substantial increase in the number of counterfeit electronic parts used in the production of sensitive military equipment. The Committee noted, ``Our report outlines how this flood of counterfeit parts, overwhelmingly from China, threatens national security, the safety of our troops and American jobs.''

Furthermore, the SASC report found approximately 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts in U.S. Military Aircraft while noting that both defense contractors and the Department of Defense lack an adequate understanding of the depth and severity of the problem. My legislation will ensure that no counterfeit parts ever find their way into any U.S. military aircraft by requiring that these parts be made right here at home. And, for the first time, it will require the Federal Aviation Administration to formulate rules to ensure no counterfeit parts are making their way into passenger aircraft as well.

When Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003, a Swiss company stopped shipments of a crucial guidance system component for U.S. smart bombs. Both these incidents could have resulted in U.S. forces being in harm's way without necessary tools to defend themselves. Fortunately, neither incident caused threats to our troops, but they clearly demonstrate the need to protect our production supply lines from being cut, especially in times of war.

Similarly, during the first Gulf War, the United States was forced to turn to Japan--not once, but on three separate occasions--for essential parts in the production of the Patriot Missile.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, as one who is very concerned about the state of domestic manufacturing, I strongly believe that the Keep America Secure Act will help re-ignite our high-tech sector. Between 2000 and 2010 the United States lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs.

The Keep America Secure Act would help promote the remaining U.S. high tech firms. We need to rebuild the domestic electronic components industry, and this bill will help us do it.

We have spent the last ten years rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan while continuing to neglect our weakening manufacture sector here at home.
Congress must make a commitment to rebuilding our domestic manufacturing base and to ensuring that our courageous defenders continue to have the best equipment available. And as our economy suffers, let us give the manufacturing sector a needed shot in the arm. Unless Congress stands up and puts a halt to it we will eventually be at the mercy of any adversary who controls the manufacturing of our weapons or the critical components of our weapons.

Mr. Speaker, in the days to come, I will look to my like-minded friends, on both sides of the aisle, and say to my colleagues: let's work together to keep America secure.


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