Home > posts > CFIF to Defense Secretary Gates: American Interests Come First, Not Brazil’s
March 25th, 2011 5:20 pm
CFIF to Defense Secretary Gates: American Interests Come First, Not Brazil’s
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A troubling trend seems to be emerging in the defense industry—outsourcing national security to foreign companies.

We recently learned that two defense companies are competing for a proposed American attack aircraft contract: Hawker Beechcraft of Wichita, Kansas, and a Brazilian company named Embraer.  One particularly disturbing fact is that Embraer receives subsidies from the Brazilian government, which has publicly opposed the War on Terror and American efforts against Iran and Venezuela, but now seeks to profit from that same U.S. commitment to military strength.  Another troubling item is an unconventional clause in the potential Embraer contract known as the “Golden Share” clause.  Under that provision, the Brazilian government would be empowered to shut down the operation at any time during the production or maintenance of the aircraft.  Alarmingly, the United States would have no means for recourse on the matter.  That’s not very “golden” for American interests.

Additionally, awarding the contract to Hawker Beechcraft would sustain an estimated 1,400 domestic jobs, whereas Brazil’s Embraer would offer only 50 final assembly positions.  Moreover, the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 is based upon an aircraft already in wide use by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) and other American allies.  Consequently, that familiarity and logistical infrastructure advantage would allow for substantial cost savings over the new aircraft’s life cycle.  This is particularly important at a time when the Defense Department seeks cost control measures.

For these reasons, CFIF has written Defense Secretary Robert Gates, urging him to carefully consider these issues.

Americans just witnessed a similar episode between Boeing and foreign company EADS, and outsourcing defense to foreign companies is simply bad policy.  America cannot afford to jeopardize domestic jobs or our national security.

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