Disappearing Industrial Base

Even US Strategic Command has to be mindful of the defense industrial base. US STRATCOM chief Gen. Kevin Chilton said he would “flag” two areas of the industrial base as essential to his mission. One is the continued production of solid rocket propellant and motors, which will take a big hit with the end of shuttle missions and completion of the Minuteman III revamp. If NASA drops SRMs from its new family of rockets, the capability could disappear. Chilton also warns that the US is risking its ability to build “big airplanes” for military use. “You have to look to the future,” he said, adding, “You can’t ‘gap’ those capabilities.”