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Guardian Six's ongoing investigation of the national security risks to the defense industrial base highlights the risks to the base, and recommends strategies for risk mitigation. Although leaders in both the Executive and Legislative Branches have begun to address the issue, there remains a remarkable lack of comprehensive information available to Congress, the media, or the public. The U.S. defense procurement system has not kept pace with national security risk assessments, nor has it taken into account the loss of critical technologies, labor force skills, and intellectual property rights. As a result, the U.S. defense industrial base is increasingly vulnerable to exploitation by foreign governments and foreign business entities. Risks to the U.S. defense industrial base vary according to several factors, including but not limited to: 1) political risks associated with specific foreign governments and business entities; 2) financial risks (e.g., the debt-to-credit ratio of key strategic suppliers); 3) exposure of the supply chain nodes for specific strategic items or materials (e.g., supply chain critical path); proportion of the strategic item or material that is vulnerable to foreign attack or manipulation (e.g., severity of exposure to attack). Our study addresses a critical element in U.S. national security policy -- the health of our defense industrial base.
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