The Air Force is buying a new intercontinental ballistic missile at a time when the Trump Administration has expressed concern military contracting practices are undermining the defense industrial base. The Air Force’s missile is an opportunity to demonstrate that the military can get a good deal without hurting the industrial base. The specific issue is whether the U.S. will continue to have competing sources for large solid rocket motors, or end up with only one. If the service mandates competitive dual sourcing of rocket motors across the lifetime of the missile production program, then the nation is assured of competing suppliers. If it leaves missile integrators free to buy all of the motors from one source, then it might unwittingly create a monopoly. I have written a commentary for Forbes explaining the issue here.
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