The full (72 page) NDIA report is here and the Executive Summary follows.
2018’s Executive Order 13806 report on production risks to critical defense industrial supply chains starkly framed the health of the U.S. defense industrial base as key to the readiness of U.S. armed forces to confront near-term threats and compete long-term against strategic adversaries. Despite its high-resolution snapshot of the defense industrial base’s “unprecedented set of challenges,” the report does not provide the public and the defense policy community either an unclassi ed summary measurement of the health and readiness of the defense industrial base or a simple way of tracking such a measurement over time.iii
To fill this gap, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) has piloted what is intended to become an annual project by writing Vital Signs 2020. In order to provide a comprehensive assessment of the defense industrial base, our procedure involved standardizing and integrating different elements of both the defense sector and the business environment that shapes its performance.
2020’s mediocre “C” grade reflects a business environment characterized by highly contrasting areas of concern and con dence. Deteriorating conditions for industrial security and for the availability and cost of skilled labor and materials emerge from our analysis as areas of clear concern. Favorable conditions for competition in the defense contracting market and a rising demand for defense goods and services re ect recent year-over-year growth in the defense budget. This rst iteration of an expected annual study contributes to the debate about national defense acquisition strategy by offering a common set of indicators — vital signs — of what some have called America’s “sixth service,” the industrial partners who equip our war ghters with their capability advantages.