National Security Jeopardized by Steel Plant Closures

Retired Army Brigadier General concerned about foreign suppliers of steel and aluminum.

Dozens of steel and aluminum plant closures -- and tens of thousands of layoffs -- attributed to a flood of unfairly traded imports. As a result, there is now just one American smelter to produce the high-purity aluminum needed for aircraft like the F-35 fighter jet, and one U.S. steel manufacturer making high-end grain-oriented electrical steel, essential for transmission and distribution transformers for all types of energy.

The Commerce Department is currently reviewing whether steel and aluminum imports threaten our national defense. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is likely to send recommendations to the White House by the end of June, and the president could act.

We do not want to have to rely on potential adversaries like Russia or China to get the steel and aluminum we need to build our aircraft carriers, battleships, tanks and fighter jets. Steel and aluminum manufacturers and workers cannot wait much longer. If we don’t step up, America’s entire steel and aluminum industries could disappear. We’d have to rely on Russia and China for our national defense needs. Can you even imagine?"  said Brigadier General John Adams, U.S. Army (Ret.).

He added that foreign imports, many of which are heavily subsidized or government-owned, are often dumped into the U.S. market at prices far below fair value. Since American companies operate in a free marketplace, he believes that they can’t compete against these practices. The result is that many steel and aluminum makers have closed plants, laid-off workers or gone out of business entirely.