Trump administration to review US security threats linked to factory closures

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The Trump administration is issuing a review related to potential security risks stemming from the shrinking U.S. manufacturing base.

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Peter Navarro, the top White House aide on trade and industrial policy, says the president will sign an executive order Friday for a 270-day review to be led by the Defense Department. The order joins a Commerce Department review of imposing steel tariffs on national security grounds as a possible way the administration could reshape global trade without having to negotiate new agreements with foreign countries.

The United States has lost more than 60,000 factories since 2001, according to the president and other White House officials. Navarro says these closings are directly related to potential vulnerabilities.

Vice President Mike Pence said at a speech last month that a strong manufacturing base was key to U.S. defense capabilities.

“In this time of widening challenges and unknowable threats … We do not build Navy ships and aircraft and the weapons that defend our freedom, we do not fill the arsenal of democracy without [manufacturers],” the vice president said before the National Association of Manufacturers in June.

Administration officials say the country lacks domestic companies that can produce flat panels, repair submarine propellers and print circuit boards, among other possible shortages in the event of war.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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