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China Caught the U.S. in Manufacturing, High-Tech Weapons Might Be Next

by John Reed on June 29, 2012

It’s no secret that China (and many other nations) are catching up with the U.S. in education and manufacturing. A quick Google search can reveal the massive gains China’s manufacturing and education sectors have made over the last three decades. Experts have long warned that the U.S.fast slipping far behind it’s industrialized peers in terms of critical education sectors;  science, technology, engineering and math.

The worst part they say; as the U.S. is slipping, China is rising. First, it mastered — some would argue, it still is mastering — basic manufacturing and it has begun investing heavily in higher-end engineering and scientific education, paving the way for it’s rapid gains in high-tech manufacturing. Now, China is starting to turn this investment in engineering and scientific knowledge toward producing high-end military gear.

Just look here, here and here to see how fast the Chinese military is growing. This great technological leap forward owes much of its success to China’s large investment in an education system that produces far more engineers each year than the American university system — something you’ll hear any American defense executive lament. These engineers — with plenty of help from information acquired from America and Europe via espionage, reverse engineering Western gear and partnerships with Western companies — have helped design China’s new crop of fighter jets, anti-satellite missiles, space planes and more.

Chinese engineers have also designed the sophisticated cyber weapons that have stolen reams of information from American defense contractors and the Pentagon to fill in gaps in Chinese weapons designers knowledge. Meanwhile, American companies like GE are partnering more and more with Chinese firms such as COMAC to produce everything from jet engines to cutting edge avionics, as we’ve said above, these partnerships provide China with information on how to catch up with the the U.S.

So while China’s manufacturing and engineering knowledge base might not yet be at the same level as America’s, it’s getting better every day as its engineers take on more challenging projects and learn from their partners at world-class companies like GE.

To learn a bit more about this issue and what can be done to keep the U.S. on top of its game in the face of rising competition from China, DT asked Naval War College Professor, Kathleen Walsh for her take on all this. Here’s her bio, needless to say, she’s got the ear of plenty of decision makers and influencers when it comes to China policy. Click through the jump to read her answers to our questions.

When will China catch the U.S. in terms of high-end engineers capable of designing and building quality, high-tech goods and military equipment?

In terms of sheer numbers, it won’t take long.  Of course, quality is what matters here, and that will
take longer, probably a decade and perhaps much more.  I’m told by industry experts that Chinese engineers coming out of Chinese schools are quite proficient in basic engineering skills, but that they
typically tend to lack the independent initiative and innovative approaches that at least Western multinationals are seeking and tend to be important in advanced science and engineering.  So, I think it will
be some time (10+ yrs) before they’re able to produce similarly advanced, independent engineering as US, with some exceptions possible. But though they might not “catch us,” that is not to say that they won’t
be marginally innovative or adaptive in important ways in the meantime – something we need to be cognizant of.  Of course, our own labor force in this sector is ageing, retiring, and largely comprised of foreign
students.  So I’m not sure this is the right question — us v. them. Perhaps it is what we can continue to do to attract high-quality engineers wherever they come from and however advanced China might
become.  That is the nature of the current competition — growing and attracting the world’s best STEM talent.  We’ve been very good at this since the World War II era; many studies suggest policy reforms are needed to ensure we remain so, on which, in general, I concur.

How soon will China make the leap from partnering/licensing/stealing western designs and tech to innovating its own game-changing technology?

 They are already in the process of doing so, at least in some select areas (info tech sector, especially).  The way I see it, China will continue to engage in all of these activities along the full spectrum of
activities (from stealing/copying through independent innovation) for some time. The earlier stages, of course, help develop the latter, more advanced indigenous innovation capabilities China seeks. Multinational corporations know this, too, and seek to find ways to maintain their edge and advantage. It’s a two-way game.

What are some of the potential roadblocks to China’s rise in these areas?

Education, I think, is a big road block as it is something that is hard to “grow” fast (you can build a university but that is not the same as establishing a high-quality educational institution and faculty). China has some elite schools and faculty, but these are largely (not entirely) found in the eastern cities (Beijing, Shanghai,
Guangzhou and some others). China’s military, defense industry, and researchers are still located in many cases in the Central-Western provinces. So, we’ve seen the military trying to employ (according to State plans) these elite universities for training, recruiting, and partnering as well as in assistance in building more universities in
other parts of the country, as well as greater focus on attracting foreign experts, faculty, and foreign university programs. But this is, by its nature, a long-term solution to a current gap.

How can the U.S. remain competitive?

As indicated in my testimony and comments made in that hearing Q&A, I think there has been a tipping
point that affects how the US must answer this question today. That tipping point is tied to the nature and evolution of globalization – which has seen the outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing, followed
by the same for R&D, and now, I think, of science itself — much of it to China. If science (basic and applied sciences) becomes a truly global endeavor in which China is a major player (as is becoming the case as China invests billions in it and attracts some of the world’s leading scientists, engineers, and innovators to its shores as well, at least for temporary stints in China), then this suggests to me that the US must find better ways to leverage this global trend –and China’s increasingly important role in it— rather than shy away from it or
simply seek to control or contain it (which I think will yield diminishing returns at best and harm our own S&T efforts if we’re not privy what’s going on in China S&T by being involved strategically at least in part). The United States, European Union, and increasingly China (some might include Russia too) are among the few that, in a world of more global science, I think, are likely to continue to invest in a full spectrum of basic science, including frontier science; in a more globalized system where science and its results are more readily
accessible (as it becomes more globally cooperative, outsourced, commoditized, and offshored), smaller countries will likely not feel the need to invest in such themselves — if they can access/buy from others,
except in those areas in which they might have a scientific competitive advantage.  Every country wants to be more innovative and scientifically advanced in order to grow and advance their economy today. I think only
some big countries like the US and China will have the ability to do so, which suggests to me opportunity and a need to be more engaged rather than operating in wholly separate spheres as in the Cold War era. This
approach has its inherent dangers, but the tipping point to me is that the risks of NOT doing so as China becomes more scientifically advanced have begun to outweigh the risks inherent in doing so — and will grow.
As such, I advised that we should be flooding the place (China) with students, scientists, and others to learn more about and be more involved in China’s science and technology efforts as a way to leverage this (their) investment (as they do ours and others’) and, most importantly, serve US national security interests

I must, as you know, add a disclaimer that these are my own personal views and in no way represent
US government, DoD, US Navy, nor Naval War College, which should be made clear in anything made public.

Now, the rise of China and other nations isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the world. Still, if the U.S. wants to remain competitive to a rising China, it must invest more in its education system — part of that also means reforming the immigration system  and ensuring we have a level economic playing field to attract and keep the world’s best minds in our country. We’ve got the size, natural resources, a decent sized population, and for now, brainpower to compete with China, but unless we take a look at the numbers in terms of education, we may not always be competitive in the private sector or the defense arena.

If you want more arguments of how China — and others — are rapidly moving forward while the U.S. risks being surpassed, read this depressing article called Why America Is Slouching Towards Third World Status by Harvard University’s Steven Strauss.







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{ 215 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy June 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Move all our Manufactories out of China that the answer….


Denver9 June 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Get your fat ass out of the house and get a real job.


tiger June 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I just spent 13 hours moving office furniture in North NJ. Tust me that was a real job. in 90 degree weather.


Dude July 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

try doing that same job in 100 Degree weather here in Texas!


XYZ July 2, 2012 at 11:41 am

According to this article, I think that's not a real job. Go be a scientist or engineer.


Andy July 2, 2012 at 11:08 am

what job???? everything are made in FRICKING CHINA.
Everything that I own are made in China


Ken June 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm

This is just another Cold War era type of article that scared d public about a potential enemy so that d government can do more of what they like. Even if china education has improved dramatically, it doesn't mean d US education system is slipping. From statistical facts, I know that China sent d highest rate of international students to d US, a lot more than any other country. If china education system is on d rise n US education system slipping, y r they coming to d US for schools like crazy, even d country's top leaders children r going to school in the US. In term of manufacturing, it's not that we are incompetent n couldn't compete, it's simply that we r too expensive n couldn't lower our salary to compete. I'm sure that American workers are capable of doing anything that Foxconn workers in china can, n can even do it better. However, we r too expensive to hire for things that skills n professionalism r not required. So stop posting article like china on d rise n us slipping just because we don't manufacture d iPhone but design n invent d iOS instead.


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 4:13 am

Dude, good points but this isn't twitter. Spell out some more and your message will be more effective. Didn't neg you but others have.


Chops June 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Not that hard to catch up when you steal all the information–they would be 30 yrs behind at least if they had to devolop it on their own.The defense contractors and DOD need to tighten up their security if they want to maintain their edge over China.


bobbymike June 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Completely correct everything China is doing has zero innovation and is either stolen or copied. They still cannot even make a decent jet engine. They still have to buy or steal to make any progress.

The real problem is that the US through deficits, debt and massive entitlement spending is not spending enough on basic research and development. In addition we have practically shuttered our nuclear infrastructure as well as our solid rocket, guidance and RV industries.

We are losing faster than they are gaining.


Denver9 June 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm

What fucking innovation have we had? Name some, don't just spout off standard polysci crap.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Chops, bobby – Excellent points!

Denver – Stealth tech, engines, radar, precision munitions, UAVs. It's not hard to figure out. Just go through the articles.


cs4 June 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Be very afraid when they start innovating.


Vec June 29, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Suppose to be world No 1 in tech and America vault of so called secret technology cannot defeat the China locksmith If allegations r true then Shame.Shame.Shame


tiger June 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm

They did not "steal" everything. They produce more engineering students than we do every year. While typical US students major in Beer pong & loser BA majors like communications or art history. They are at Cal Tech sitting in a Thermodynamics course.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Maybe not "EVERYTHING" (their boots are domestic manufacture) but if you look at their weapons systems the overwhelming majority of their systems are foreign made, copies of foreign made stuff or look suprisingly like our stuff.

They have adequate engineers but they have outstanding spies.


UAVgeek July 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Exactly in accordance with the 13th Chapter of the Art of War I might add. People should read the playbook that the enemy orchestra is performing from.
"Be subtle! Be Subtle! Use spies for every kind of business" -Sun Tzu


Jake July 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

Tiger, I'm fully aware that this is a military enthusiasts site with a clear bias, however I think you're a little quick to write off arts and humanities degrees as 'beer pong & loser'. I'm from the UK so I can't speak with much authority on your education system, but I would like to point out that at present the US is amongst the world leaders in the creative industries.

While undoubtedly there are many second-rate courses around there still remains a very high standard of arts and humanities degrees in the US. Graduates from these courses will contribute heavily to American society and culture — a society and culture that sets you apart from your economic and military rivals. China and Russia ,not to mention Iran and North Korea, have very undeveloped creative industries and education systems.

Your creative education is something to be proud of. Hopefully it might also prove to be the basis for a society worth defending.


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

I think the big question (outside of DefTech of course) is:

'Graduates from these courses will contribute heavily to American society and culture'

Trying to decide if Jersey Shore and Real Housewives… is worth defending. Thanks, reality TV (though you barely count as an "art")


UAVgeek July 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

The problem is the loser students who get humanities degrees and have time to play beer pong end up going to business (and are typically one ethnic makeup) and the heads-down engineer types that they give orders to to build things are another ethnic make up. The big problem is here is that you can be an engineer who makes the jump to being an "ideas" person, but the "ideas" person cannot make the jump to being an engineer. To me China's doing it the smart way: taking advantage of the West's prejudice and feeling of entitlement to a superior position.


Matt July 5, 2012 at 12:31 am

I dont mean to discredit arts and the humanities degrees, however there is something I must critic re: the American education system.

"Creative education" doesnt win wars or dominate economics or world politics. The West didnt win the Cold War because of the Rocky movies, we won (in part) by forcing the Soviets (who had a gov controled economy) to invest too heavily in military. NK and Iran arent behind because of a lack of "culture", they are comiting atrocities and driving away powerful allies.

As an American I can say that the country (as a whole) has to much of a "follow your dreams no matter what" and "college is for partying" mentality. High school students are encourged to get a degree at all costs, even if it has no practical value in the employment world and the student is more interested in parties that a degree. Our public high schools (I cant speak on private/charter) focus much more on English and fine arts than math/science or practical life skills.


Andy July 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Just name one thing that China Invented ??? NOODLE ???


Thomas L. Nielsen July 3, 2012 at 2:33 am


Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Andy July 3, 2012 at 11:21 am

Yes, they claim spaghetti and gunpowder, but if you look at the history for the last hundred of years ……I rest my case…I still think Gunpowder and spaghetti are not China invention…is in they DNA COPY COPY COPY

Jake July 3, 2012 at 4:57 am



blight_ June 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Posted this in the Kiowa Warrior thread, but…

Perhaps we should can their JSF engine as retribution.


Jon June 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I have a solution. FREE CABLE for all countries competing with the US. Within 20 years they won't be able to find their own country on a GLOBE!


Tad July 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm

My man, you are a genius! Free Big Gulps would also help.

And along the same lines, if we want to chill out the middle east, just give them free air conditioners!


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

The Qu'ran says nothing about air conditioners.

"It's too hot outside to plot jihad. Let's stay here…"

Anybody see that news article about malls in Iraq?


Lance June 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I find more fear mongering about China is pointless I do agree more investment in education and technology is needed for our population.


JohnB June 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm

More effective education, not the way college tuitions are sky-rocketing, and where most of the taxes money go to teachers' retirement that produce less and less qualified high school students.


majr0d June 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm

More "investment" in tech and education? We spend ten times what the Chinese do on education for a third of the population. The amount of money ISN'T the issue.


DanS June 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Its an apples and oranges comparison. There are ZERO subsistence level farmers in the US. In China are about 350 million + subsistence level farmers. You have to use an accurate metric of comparison. If you compared money spent, you need to look at a similar first world power with like France (which is pretty similar with its own high-tech, automotive, aerospace segments combined with big agricultural and rural concerns).


majrod June 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

So subsitence farmers is the difference in education systems?

Even subtracting 350 mil people (almost the population of the US) the Chinese still educate DOUBLE the people for as tenth of the cost.

Nah, not buying.


Vec June 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm

A very sane answer from the Harry Potter syndrome here.


Zip June 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Aw fuck! Lance, you grew a brain!


tiger June 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm

We have dumpped billions on Education. Even created a federal Department for it. Results? 75% of the avg. kids today are stil dumb as rocks.


Norseman4 July 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm

More money in education isn't the answer.

Bust the teacher's unions and tenure. Advance teacher who perform well. Can the teachers that claim people have been arrested for disrespecting the president. THEN you'll see a marked increase in the performance of our schools, but not before.


Jerry June 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm

It's called greed, the same defense contractors that have robbed America taxpayers blind.
They flash the flag on their commercials that makes them a patriot. Now every ship that the navy Build is $ billion every aircraft they make, is hundreds of millions of dollars. Where does it end?


Belesari June 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Yet it isnt the companies forcing you to buy. It isnt the companies demanding ships that can do everything and have stupid needs met.

Ships are a billion dollars because: The people who make them are payed very well. The weapons the navy chooses to use are the most expensive possible. The planes they choose are the most expensive possible mostly because of the god of Stealth.

The places they build them are expensive. The people they staff them with more so. And each state and city and senator and congressmen wants a peice of the pie as far as jobs and funding go.

WE are the cause of these problems.


Marcellus Hambrick June 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Thats what we get when we educate the top Chinese students, transfer technological know how, and sit idly by as high tech jobs sre transported overseas. Since the Clinton administration the US has been extremely lax with high technology transfer and enforcement.


blight_ June 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm

It all really started as a way to crush the American labor movement and bring prices down. Clinton could order companies to move overseas, but they won't unless they see the dollar signs. It isn't political, it was economic.


Vec June 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Dont delude yourself about Chinese students being "educated" in America
Sole purpose is to rob third world countries off their educated talent to stay in america.
But does not work anymore as China can provide better facilities and nost r returning to China.
Grand larceny of brillant students from the world is over.
No longer american dream but American nightmare.


blight_ June 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

Many are staying on in America, but are keeping their ears open to the opportunity to return home.


UAVgeek July 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Actually there's intel out that a huge percentage of the Chinese elite are quietly planning "Outs" to other countries in case the Central Government takes a dump. The US is one of those places.


tiger June 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Our kids would rather play ball, drink beer, and take no show easy grade classes. I remember Engineering school. Not a frat type in the place.


Kirk Gibbs July 1, 2012 at 1:38 am

Graduated in a very social frat. Three of my best friends got engineering degrees while being a "frat type". Another five current guys in it are engineers. Stop using frat as your go to fuck ups.


UAVgeek July 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Wow, none of the engineering types I know are like that. Most are slaving away on projects or on other types of homework. Mech, Aero, Materials, Electrical, Computer people I know barely sleep during the school year. That tells me 1. Your friends are wealthy and don't need side jobs or 2. ….Are you sure they are actually doing the work?


academic patriot June 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

It is hard to get US students interested in STEM degrees, especially advanced degrees, when all of the high money STEM jobs are in finance, and American industries prefer to buy cheap scientists/engineers/programmers from India and China with H-1 visas. With a PhD in mathematics, over forty refereed publications in math/stats/management, advanced training in statistics and physics, I have always made less than the B grade masters students that I send to jobs in industry get for their starting salaries. After 25 years post PhD and now managing a department of ten, I still make less than $75K, and until five years ago, less than $65 K. Starting salaries for business faculty at my school are over $110 K. You tell me what I should tell my bright students about where to aim.


Dfens June 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Tell them to be engineers because if no one designs anything, the lawyers can only sue the doctors who cure people's illnesses.


blight_ June 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Then it's just the E, screwing ST and M? E is the only one that ever paid well, especially for a bachelor's.


blight_ June 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Sounds about right. In the life sciences, a post doctoral researcher makes about 40k, after 4-5 years of undergrad and 4-5 more of graduate training.

Those wages may as well be wages of a foreign country.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 12:02 am

Your field is in matehmatics/stats/mgmt (again nothing against those fields) not engineering. Your experience is in academia (nothing against it) not in industry.

Not the same as the guys creating the next weapons (though there are mathematicians on the teams).

You have a tough story. It isn't equivalent to defense industry's needs.


joe July 3, 2012 at 3:17 am

Except I will support it from an industry perspective.
Well-respected defence company (who have a vested interest in the health of engineering talent):
Graduate Engineer Starting Salary – ~$40,000
Finance Graduate Salary – ~$47,000 plus funded accountancy qualification

again, which one would you look to?


majr0d July 3, 2012 at 3:46 am

I'm not a good comparison. I was selected for a commissioning program and joined served as an Infantry officer for 20 years. It wasn't for the pay :)

That aside salary is admittedly a pretty important criteria. It's not the only one.

BTW, what's your source?

"According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aerospace engineers earned an average annual wage of $96,270 as of May 2009 http:// (www.bls.gov)."
"Aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineers earn an average wage of $87,000 per year, with the highest 10% of them earning $124,550 and the lowest 10% on a salary of $59,610 per year. The average starting salary for aerospace engineers with a bachelors degree is $53,408 per year; for those with a masters degree they can expect to start on an average salary of around $62,549 per year; and those with doctorates start on an average salary of approximately $73,814." http://www.engineersalary.org/


SJE July 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

Academia is not the same as industry, but its true that outside of academia STEM is also undervalued when compared with the amount of time and effort required for study etc. JD, MD and MBA get paid a lot more than PhD or MSc.


Stephen Russell June 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Blame our Public Ed system & Chinese spying alone for Rise & US Tax code, trade policies since the 70s.


Jayson June 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

This is pin pointing perfectly at the education system that's just a mess. No kid left behind making it non-motivating to actually get the education needed for universities is one. Zero tolerance to the point the teachers don't allow sunscreen to be applied on sunny days is another massively bad problem. Then the US has a population of a hell lot less than China and if China raises their education system to the level of the US was a decade ago – look out!

There's a couple immediate issues and one long term issue and together is tilting the odds in Chinas favour in the future and I'm talking about the next decade imho.


Comrade Joe June 30, 2012 at 12:18 am

Espionage and copying still the main source of chinese military tech advancements. Even Russian military tech isn't safe.


Emerson June 30, 2012 at 12:35 am

it's simple….the US, Japan, and Germany have placed their most high-tech manufacturing factories in China, due to lower labor and logistics,…it would be dumb to assume the Chinese would not assimilate the tech that is sitting in their back yard.


Roland June 30, 2012 at 3:01 am

I still doubt China can out maneuver us on technology. Most of their jets are copies. And most copies don't work at 100% level. Although they are good on math and science. They do invented the abacus.


Roland June 30, 2012 at 3:09 am

Oops sorry, the Sumarian is probably the one who invented the abacus on 2700-2300 BC.


tiger June 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Oh really? We can not even build a decent car any more. Even the computer your typing on is not even made here.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

It might not be made here but all the tech and innovation is.


jamFRIDGE July 2, 2012 at 7:42 am

I like to think the Ford Mustang and Chevy Corvette are decent cars.


joe July 3, 2012 at 3:46 am

Right up until, y'know, there's a corner in the road.
But hey, at least muscle cars look cool as they fail to go round them.


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 9:29 am

Won't matter if the west is happy to sell it to them


superraptor June 30, 2012 at 9:35 am

China will win. That does not mean we have to lose. We should have more joint projects with our allies. Some of their weapons are better, look at the Meteror AAM or the planned Perseus antiship missile.


duuude June 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

You want this, you want that but you don't want to pay taxes (face palm), and then you won't do shit about the greedy corporate fatcats that send all the jobs overseas. And as you sink deeper into the mire, you refuse to listen to potential solutions that smack of "socialism".


Dfens June 30, 2012 at 11:36 am

What about the solutions that smack of capitalism? We now pay our contractors more to f up than we do if the come in with a good weapon on-time and on-budget. Can anyone guess what that kind of capitalist incentive does? Socialism beats the hell out of that system every time, but then so does capitalism where the profit incentive is in the right place.


blight_ June 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

TR would laugh his ass off. Speak softly and carry a big carrot is what we're doing.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

duude – which tent are you posting from in that Occupy Wall Street demonstration?


Kirk Gibbs July 1, 2012 at 1:53 am

Give him a little credit. OWS doesn't want a military at all.


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 3:44 am

Kirk – Where do you get he's pro military?


duuude July 1, 2012 at 9:41 am

No doubt the Brits said a similar thing to all those damned protesters in Boston.


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm

LOL, hardly. They didn't pitch tents in the commons and crap on the street.

What exactly are the similarities between the OWS crowd and our founding fathers?


Dfens July 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

Uh, I don't know. Maybe they're both tired of being crapped on by their own government?

JackBlack June 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

China military = BE VERY AFRAID ( since 2 November 1950 Korea ).


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

True. There's a lot of them and they were copying our gear even back then.


tiger June 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Dead Grandfather in Arlington would agree.


Dfens June 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

Keep guessing.


Dfens June 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

The most important thing is that we continue to pay our defense contractors more to screw up and drag out weapons development than we do if they come up with good, reliable weapons on-time and on-budget. Let's never change that system, because it is working out so damn well for China.


firoo June 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Go china go well done :P


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Well said! Straight from one of many Chinese spies stealing our technology.


STemplar June 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm

We aren't going to solve education issues in the this nation without leadership. It doesn't require more money and the focus shouldn't just be on raw numbers for test scores. I'd say the biggest obstacle falls right back on the partisanship that grips DC.

The right can't promote things like advances in aircraft and weapon systems or they are demonized as war mongers. The left can't promote innovation in renewable energy production without being assailed as wasting money on fairy tale tech. The Obama admin sees space as a wasteful extravagance in tough times. The Republicans see $ committed to large public infrastructure projects like high speed rail as welfare pork. Both sides ran willy nilly into free trade agreements without a thought to what that would do to the manufacturing base and the skilled hands on tech associated with it. Neither side is terribly innovative in pushing for support for new thinking in where we put higher education $. The Republicans won't support wind and solar energy innovation. The Democrats won't support advances in existing tech like clean coal and leveraging our vast oil shale reserves. Then everyone stands there and wonders why our young people don't have a clue and no direction in life. Our leader aren't giving them any.


yashpahade January 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Its all about politics now….none of them give rats ass anymore..


blight_ January 9, 2013 at 9:27 am

"Both sides ran willy nilly into free trade agreements without a thought to what that would do to the manufacturing base and the skilled hands on tech associated with it. Neither side is terribly innovative in pushing for support for new thinking in where we put higher education $. [...]Then everyone stands there and wonders why our young people don't have a clue and no direction in life."

For truth.

That said, you voice an assumption that people depend on government leadership to do things, which isn't always true.

It was inevitable that our mfr sectors would collapse, since there's an air of the Greed-is-Good '80s still hanging out in the boardroom.


Garrett June 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

You know, if the Chinese are so friggin smart, why does their new stealth jet (which likely isn't really all that stealthy) use Russian engines? Quite frankly most of the technological innovation in the world was created in the U.S. The Chinese, like the Japanese in the 80s, are great at copying but poor at innovating.


Chops June 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm

The Chinese have a new market of engines to copy now in the form of the newest Russian fighters,that is because Putin hates the USA so much that he will sell anything to anyone to stick it to the US.Eventually the Chinese are going to successfully clone a supercruise thrust vectoring Russian engine [ if they havn't already ] and advance their military aviation industry by 15-20 yrs in one fell swoop.


cs4 June 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm

You are right. Most of the technological innovation were created in the US, but how many of them are ready for consumers? That's why the Japanese kicked your butts, they did more R but even more D.


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 4:11 am

Kicked our butt? By what measure? tWhere's Japan now? Whose military equipment do they use?


cs4 July 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

Surely, you don't expect Japanese to buy your military equipment because it is the best? They bought it because of politics. Like the recent F35 purchase, only 4 jets? C'mon, if it is that good, they would at least signed for 40 in a flash. The deal was only meant to appease your leaders. Many consumer electronics have components that can be used in the military, how many of the CE were made in the US of A?


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

The F35 you're only example?

So easy to forget F15s, F16s, AWACS.P3 Orions, Aegis class destroyers UH1s, AH1s, CH47s, AH64s, UH60s, MLRS, Patriot and even the M4?

tiger July 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

THe folks at Rolls Royce would beg to differ. Flag waving is clouding common sense.


Dfens July 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Flag waving is common sense. Hell, if the US is so damn white hot, why do we have to buy our rocket engines from the f'ing Russians?


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 9:24 am

We're just subcontracting the Russians for supply flights to ISS, because the only rockets we seem to have left are the ones that launch satellites or launch nuclear missiles.

And in any case, aren't the Russian resupply rockets (Progress?) teleoperated?


Dfens July 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm

The Atlas uses Russian engines. Neither NASA nor the USAF have a rocket that can take a man to low earth orbit right now, which is why we buy rides on Russian rockets. They use the Russian resupply vehicles because they're already using them to launch the asstronauts.

majr0d June 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm

BS flag! (My previous post was deleted for reasons unknow. Can't handle the truth?)

China can only "catch us" if we stop creating and being innovative. All they have demonstrated to date is an exceptionally dangerous ability to steal our technology and an adept ability to copy it but they have not demonstrated any innovation.

Shut down cyber espionage and China's sprint will become a crawl.
Predict I will get tons of negatives or be deleted (again) because i'm not jumping on the "we have to spend more on education" train (we already spend ten times as much as the Chinese for a third of the population) and those that bow at the altar of Chinese greatness and get offended by the truth.


tiger June 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm

What have we made lately that was so "innovative?" A blue pill that give you a 12 hour hard on? Or perhaps the "McRib?"


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm

The F22, X37B, jet engines, precision munitions, armed UAVs just go through the articles here.


cs4 June 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Anything that is not engineered for more effective killing?


Chops June 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Radios,TVs,CDs, DVDs and on and on –look it up on the internet on- China cyber attacks on commercial and defense contractors–there are hundreds of sites detailing not only defense tech theft but also commercial intellectual property theft –including continual property right [patent infringement ] theft.

majr0d July 1, 2012 at 3:59 am

cs4 – You do realize you're on Defense Tech and not Martha Stewart's blog?

blight_ July 1, 2012 at 12:24 am

It might be better to boil it down in terms of technologies:

The United States is /the/ leader in fighter jet engine technology. The F-119 and the F-135/136 are well ahead of the competition, though the Russians have 3D thrust vector against the Raptor's 2D. But in terms of supercruise and performance, it seems that America is ahead, but we might be surprised someday.

Our precision munitions are good because we have the GPS constellation and presumably the ground station infrastructure that can be forward deployed to enhance accuracy of our PGMs. Everyone else would have to plug into our GPS system, or deploy their own GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo and whatnot. Conceivably new satellites would have newer tech and the potential for greater accuracy, but we have the atomic clocks, the full constellation with backups and the TTP.

For UAVs, we have the SATCOM infrastructure for teleoperation, though not without its weaknesses.

For the PRC, the danger is trying too hard to mirror us. The only way you'd catch up is by getting to the point that our R&D exhausts our funds, and being slightly behind and not wasting money on R&D puts you ahead in costs and ability to scale and deploy.


Chops June 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Surprised by your comments Tiger,you're on here all the time and know full well the scope of tech theft by China and the contractors in the US that they hit-or are you playing devils' advocate?


tiger June 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Just giving some ballance. Yes, they do have a active spy network. But they are not a bunch of dumb peasants in rice fields either. They are our real rival in the world of the 21st century. The 19th belonged to Britain. The 20th to the US. Time for the next gen folks.


Chops June 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Never said or even implied that they were dumb-quite the contrary-I just wish they would adhere to the standards as far as property rights that most of the rest of the world abides by.

tiger June 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Sorry, A bit depressed lately. Guess I'm venting at the world. Looking at bills and a doing a temp job for peanuts will do that to you. I wish I could step in the wayback machine and change things. At least I can work the brain cells here for a bit. Just wish I was earning a check for it.


Chops June 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Used to have to put in 60-65hrs a week to take home $300 w/ a wife and 3 kids –so I know what you mean–but that just goes to strengthen our arguements that our politicians need to worry about the American citizens and quit outsourcing jobs to foreign countries that are continually stealing our technology.

Nmate July 1, 2012 at 7:27 am

Are we talking primary or secondary education? I think it'll be awhile before China could match the US on secondary education, that takes a lot of time and effort. As for primary education, passing the US isn't that difficult. This nation's primary education system, particularly in regards to math and science, is absolute trash.


cenobyte July 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Does help that if you are smart at all you get called intelectually elitist. Who wants to be smart when the world has turned into middleschool jokes picking on the nerds?

Everyone can screw themselves over, I have my solar and wind system, lots of land, mostly wooded, with wells, natural springs, pond, orchard, berry patches and melon fields. No one wants to listen to the smart ones about energy and job loose there is nothing I can do about that, but I am not going to let there mistake screw me.


ALMan29 July 2, 2012 at 12:24 am

China is not far from us, but it will reach our technology, if we continue buying their products, sending them jobs, and sink our country.
Buy products that are made in US/EU/JP, Everything that is our allies.. otherwise… we are screwed up!


Auyong Ah Meng July 2, 2012 at 4:35 am

I understand some posters mentioned the quality hardware of the US military.

Remember please Stalin's refrain "Quantity has a quality all its own".

They don't need to have the best…just close enough and backed up with numbers in large quantities…one wil stil go down.

This is not good..


majr0d July 2, 2012 at 6:01 am

You have a point but you might want to look at the numbers when western and eastern Air Forces have clashed. I don't think even China can but that many targets in the air.


Max July 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

Yeah but they don't have Area 51 with anti-gravity propulsion UFO craft! Or do they?


nate July 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

That explains why no ROTC engineering majors are getting flight slots! They need the engineers to manufacture the next generation of defense.


Dfens July 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Like hell! They are going to use them to watch the theiving contractors rob us blind while not giving them any authority to do anything about it. Talk about a miserable job… That's why the suicide rate at Wright Patterson AFB is so damn high!


BRIC Together July 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

Its not bad.
America must be destroyed.
World only will achieve the peace, when US and NATO burn to death.


Maxtrue July 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

After this remark I will always wonder why Defense Tech EVER deleted any of my comments. All I can add is that China is about the only country that ever floated a document from the top called "unrestricted warfare".


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm

But the warfare is needed against the drone attack bomber aggressions of the NATO



majr0d July 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Its good to let the enemy talk. You know what they are thinking.


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 10:37 am

The world would be better under the Comintern, amirite?


BRIC Together July 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

World would be better with any shit instead of NATO.
The hate against United State is growing more and more, year per year. And you dont stop to think, still doing tha same thing always…so, dont blame.


Vaporhead July 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm

So, you are saying the teachers union does not tolerate unqualified teachers in it's ranks? These unions harbor these ineffective teachers, which is detrimental to the education system.


America Ant July 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Bric-which I suppose means born and raised in china. Hope you're not writing these emails in the US. It's amusing how people love to critique the US,yet come and take advantage of our secondary education and the luxuries of life. America won't be destroyed by China-it can only be destroyed by itself.That won't happen in our lifetime.


Skyepapa July 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

BRIC = Brazil, Russia, India, China. A sub for the G8. Not to be taken lightly.


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Strangely, Russia remains on the G8. China and Brazil would otherwise belong on the G8; but don't.


IronV July 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Then how do you explain the stuff they steal, copy and make is JUNK?


John July 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm

This is pure agitprop from the military / indistrial complex. They know big cuts are coming now that the nation is insolvent, and they want to shield themselves from the inevitable.

But here's a question: Are the defense contractors really so inefficient and wasteful that a nation with a military bidget ONE-TENTH of ours can catch them so easily?

Maybe if they didn't take 20 years and fifty billion dollars to design a single aircraft, they wouldn't be in this mess.

Oh well. Expect cuts.


PolicyWonk July 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Pat Buchanan wrote extensively about the selling out of American manufacturing to the communist Chinese from 2002-2008, while bemoaning the transfer of many hard-won dual-use technologies and manufacturing techniques in return for short term profits and/or campaign donations from lobbyists. Added to that is the loss of high-paying American jobs and the loss of the tax base. Buchanan predicted all these very events being written about today.

Too bad the administration couldn't be bothered to listen. This is why the money in politics and lobbying system is rotten to the core, and causing the selling out of American National Security.

What a shame.


Bellcross July 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm

/Yawn Enough of the Chinamongering.


joe July 3, 2012 at 3:44 am

Jet engine advances in terms of 'this is an afterburner' – yes, I agree that's easy. But the things that make advanced jet engines difficult to make (metallurgy and manufacturing techniques) are no less complex than electronics. Single-crystal metal structures, for example, took one of the world's most accomplished materials labs half a decade to get right. I assure you that you can't build one in a machine shop – or rather you can, provided you're looking for subsonic ME262 performance and don't mind losing a few aircraft to catastrophic structural failure.


James Thomas July 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I believe that America is going to have to bring more manufacturing back to America in order for it it explore more options on how to progress. Once people in America have a chance at jobs and can explore innovations, we can become better.


cs4 July 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Amen to that.


Dfens July 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Look at all that defense contractors have done for us. We used to have a 600 ship navy when the Navy designed their own ships. Now they can't keep 300 little crappy ships afloat. We used to be able to send men to the moon when NASA designed its own rockets. Now we can't send men to the space station without hiring a ride from the Russians. Our biggest enemy isn't China or Russia. We are our own biggest enemy.


Mastro July 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

"A quick Google search can reveal the massive gains China’s manufacturing and education sectors have made over the last three decades."

Quick Google searches are overrated- China still makes a lot of junk- we just have to keep and eye on them.


GioC July 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm

It'so stupid to say that chinese need 10 years when the tecchnology is changing in minutes . There are invented predictions , and are false . 10 years or ten minutes , the only that need sombodu for to learn is money and a good teacher and things for practice.
Ten years , don't lie . We are not fool people . You need to seek again for the bright minds in the Universities like in teh ancient time . Come back to the MIT time .


blight_ July 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

"the only that need sombodu for to learn is money and a good teacher and things for practice. "

So money to have an employer or academic institution in the west to teach you, or money to buy a design license, or money to just import foreign designs for direct deployment or money to outright steal products in industrial espionage plus practice time to build your own?


vec July 7, 2012 at 11:56 am

Accordingly tyo Wall Street Jornal the next tech innovation centre will be in China.

Goodbye Pax America.
Wake up and read Pax Americana Wall Street Journal about the progress of Chinese technology and wake up from your delusion and dreams at the following web sites
China to Over Take Silicon Valley. http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/nehttp://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2012/06/27/china


jordan Shwarts August 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

one man per prison or jail gets out to a hut shack 1000 miles of the dirt road. 4000 foot strap or 3000 foot strap-locktite new clothes from the store and a picture standing in desert to give to friends tray comes with a locked lid the one scared of murduree or been there to long gets this privlige quitest spot on the map the prison warden will escort the man deliverd by the courts to the new sector one man per prison. Hospital is a lock up biulding to dont forget!! HE wants out!!!!


anthony November 7, 2012 at 6:43 am

We know we are ahead and it will stay there as long as we keep checking backgrounds..


Frank November 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

There is not going to be war between superpower, every decision maker know this except fools who got fed distorted news everyday. Yes, both side will leak their weapon innovation to keep the fund coming, that is the real game, not nuclear war.


norm January 8, 2013 at 10:49 pm

the chinese are no longer, a russian toy they are the superpower. both eco-and military. they have an army and now an air force and a navy. there stealth program i think is going to take time, like the u.S program did. and billions of dollars or yen. no dis respect to china


blight_ January 9, 2013 at 9:24 am

Once they refine the radar cross section equations for an aerodynamic fighter (easier to do now when you have LINPACK TOP500 supercomputers) it won't be hard for them to crank out shapes with low cross sections, but there's still a technical hurdle to optimizing every aspect of your design for stealth.

That said, it does mean they can crank out new fighters with legacy tech but better RCS than our fighters, which were designed in a time before RCS was a major consideration, or before we had the tools to optimize shapes.

The future may see us pitting legacy high RCS, high tech designs against low tech, medium RCS designs. We'll see what wins there. Either RCS carries the day or it doesn't.


timothy pickard April 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm
E.fulton November 26, 2013 at 2:36 am

We need to focus on intelligence natural intelligence not so called book smarts. Focus on the people our gov writes off as ADD or OCD.,both of which when interested in something can't be outshines. But in other areas were there is no interest others pass..look for bright light not just steady dimly lit bulbs that stay lit but only move at the same speed in everything. Inspire some1 with add an watch them build given that they have an inert intelligence that out distances even their ability to "properly" articulate their thoughts…like myself.


John December 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I don't see any problem.China and India have everything to loose if war breaks out which if a major conflict would go nuclear very quickly therefore everybody looses.
However if they carry on as they are they will soon become on top of the world.
The USA is bankrupt it's people are only interested in shooting each other and as the UK before it are now fast becoming has Beens .
China has nukes if they have any sense they will stamp hard on the muslim idiots and they are in a prime position to leap way ahead of all competition in technology and manufacturing.


Jayadeep Chellath January 11, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Espionage is normal and the superiority of espionage make one competitive. Now when you say American companies set up manufacturing in china. manufacturing does not give a clue about planning and upgrading the machinery. Reverse engineering is very expensive and tedious job. They have to rebuild and repair a thousand time and meanwhile they may be learning even superior solution if they are smart. Besides reverse engineering by a poor country is impossible. 1982s India would not be able to reverse engineer Samsung three. Running the country by smart investing give the country edge on his counter part. For example if India can launch a 5 ton satellite for 50 million dollar then they will wipe out rest of the competitors. So the competes have a choice to merge with Indian industry or invest in a science to develop an even cheaper technology. Siting in the basement and coughing out racial slur is garbage.


Joe Albe April 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm

If the us military/NASA would get the Chinese our of their back pocket on technological programs and keep "how too" manuals stored in a safe place the Chinese would still be in the stone age. But of course what would our defense establishment do if there was no one to compete against….


jamFRIDGE June 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

As a recent high school graduate, I am appalled at my classmates who don’t realize education is their future. They don’t master it because they don’t care. “When am I ever going to use Calculus in the real world?” Definitely not at McDonald’s. It makes me proud to say I’m working towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering.


majr0d June 29, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Charlotte – OUTSTANDING post! FYI, we spend $1bil on education between state and fed gov’ts. The Chinese spend $100mil for THREE TIMES the population. More money is NOT what we need.


SJE July 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

I completely agree that the US education system is an epic fail at the lower end: the best schools are very very good, but the bad schools are a disgrace.
At the same time, you cannot ignore the wholesale theft of US and Western IP by the Chinese.


Praetor July 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

Brilliant, Sir. It is all about attitude, not the money.


yashpahade January 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

About freaking time someone said that education was actually important. I had begun to think no one cared anymore……..


Dfens June 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Have fun being an engineer in the day of the trail lawyer. After all, they need someone to sue.


blight_ June 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Chemical engineering, Chemical engineering!


Matrix3692 June 30, 2012 at 3:36 am

well, i’m also working a degree in mechanical engineering. and haters please turn away for a while cause i’m studying in china at the moment, and i’m not american.


blight_ June 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Asides from making our stuff for cheap, what would we rely on the PRC for?

We should support unions in the People's Republic, one because workers the world over deserve better conditions than jumping into factory safety nets, and two because it eliminates some comparative advantage the PRC has over the United States; and is just another piece of economic warfare.


Jayson June 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

Yeah a huge embarrassment. Expecting they'd get to bid on upcoming tenders and instead get totally shut out and they end up with advanced tech for cheap. Lesson learned, it's a game best not played with the Chinese.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Part of defeating espionage is detering those that profit from it. People need to go to jail in this case. Fines are not enough.


blight_ June 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

We all know scientists and engineers are evil, because they aren't going out of the lab to install tails on dolphins. It takes kids to rein in those evil heartless science folks.

But yeah, America takes its science for granted about as much as 1930's France took War to End All Wars and the Maginot Line for granted.



blight_ June 30, 2012 at 10:29 am

…what, are you suggesting Kickstarter for fighter aircraft?

That said, the market no longer supports having ten companies cranking out aircraft and churning them over every five years. We're saddled with a peacetime military force, which favors low cost, high reliability and upgradeability.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Jon – "I would bet a million dollars that I or any half competent person could build any one of those things with less then a million dollar -AND- compete with what the US Military fields. I guarantee it." I'll take that bet. Proof your wrong is it hasn't happened? Big bills or s cashier's check would be fine. :)

There are more than one or two companies building wespons systems and you're also ignoring how many vendors they keep in business.


tiger June 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm

It's 2012, not 1912. The days of Glen Martin, Glen Curtiss, etc. are dead. Even building someting as tec simple as the planes of WW ,1 took a factory of people.


cozine July 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

"Jet Engines are not hard to make"

The crown jewel of modern industry is not hard to make. Yes! That's the EXACT spirit this nation needs to continue the slip down to 2nd grade. Keep at it! Produce more lawyers and wall-street analyst is what keeps this nation at the top of the world!


Matt July 5, 2012 at 12:59 am


You do realise that only a small number of countries (dozens at most) currently make their own totally indigenous tanks/fighters/etc. Most purchase from these weapon systems from other countries (though they may develope their own upgrades; the countries that have the manufacturing base+experience to produce quality products. The Saudis dont by Abrams and Eagles out of the goodness of their hearts, they do it because developing an industry that can manufacture complex, modern equiptment takes alot of time, money, and testing.


blight_ June 30, 2012 at 10:31 am

The unions were crushed with the end of American manufacturing putting the worker base out of work. The unions that are left are in industries that didn't experience bitter en masse layoffs: the public sector and the auto industry. Even then, new plants by Japanese automakers in the US often are non-union.


Dfens June 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

Unions were strongest when the US economy was strongest, and are at their weakest now that the economy is in the toilet, so it must all be the fault of the unions, right? People need to wake the hell up. The unions have their problems, but mostly those problems are imposed from the outside. Unions could be used to ensure the high quality of workers, but then they'd get sued by a legal system that assumes every decision made about the quality of a worker is racially or sexually motivated.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Are you saying our unions weren't/aren't out of control? Our economic decline was independent of the impact of unions? Yes, people are loyal to unions partly because of history. Modern work environments are significantly different than they were 100-80 years ago and the gov't has replaced unions in the area of safety issues with its intense regulation.

To be more specific teacher's unions and their impact on education are among the offenders now.

Unions that were "crushed" were "victims" of manufacturing jobs going elsewhere because of the expense of US workers and the impact federal regulation has on the cost of manufacturing. Your approach is like placing all the blame on business owners for going to automated manufacturing because its cheaper and safer.

I'm not championing slave labor but its dishonest to not mention the role of unions in our decline. There's a lesson there in the new domestic Japanese owned non union factories.


blight_ June 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm

They were strongest because the manufacturing sectors retained a strong union tradition after the bloody fights to organize during the Industrial Revolution and the early 20th century.

That said, our economic decline probably came /before/ the demise of the unions, who fell because the companies who used to employ them fell. Simply bringing back unions won't bring back the work, which is farmed out overseas for a variety of reasons.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Dfens – "they'd (unions) get sued by a legal system that assumes every decision made about the quality of a worker is racially or sexually motivated."

What? I challenge you to document ONE case of unions getting sued because of company worker quailty or racial/sexual issues. That is so nonsensical it begs for a comparison to our woeful education system.


blight_ June 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

That suggests that non-union factories are cheaper and are exempt from "the impact federal regulation has on the cost of manufacturing". Those regs would exist union or not. The real distinction then would be: what does the union do to the company that the federal government doesn't?

Probably benefits and salary, but non-union shops would have to aim to be at least competitive with better paid UAW workers.

In the public sector, it's a different can of worms. Autoworkers don't have magic tenure that prevents removing them, for instance.


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Where do I suggest that non-union factories are exempt from regulation?

"regs would exist union or not."?

Are you aware of the relationship between unions and fedreal regulation? They are not independent. Many regulations (though not all) are supported or initiated by unions. Ever heard of minimum wage?


majr0d June 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Hmmm, things I wasn't aware of. Good points.


tiger June 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm

How many kids can name a Astronaut vs. a Jersey Shore cast member?? About 3……


Chops June 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Add–I'm sure the citizens of a lot of other countries feel the same way and are just as frustrated


blight_ July 1, 2012 at 12:31 am

I remember posting about the Pratt and Whitney Canada deal. The solution is simple: trash the PW JSF engine, and teach a lesson to the entire company, and not just the division.


Kirk Gibbs July 1, 2012 at 1:49 am

*sarcasm*… We have astronauts right now? Doesn't that require a reason to have them?

NASA should be funded at least as much as any one of the service branches. Instead….


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 3:53 am

Yeah I saw that. More than once I think. I didn't comment because I don't think you've thought through the second/third order effects.

Now if you'e trying to get rid of the F35 it's a great strategy but it's back door and manipulative if you are trying to get folks to agree with you for one reason but you have another agenda. (not my style)


maxtrue July 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I remember your post Blight. What is Congress and the DOD thinking? Gees if the Israelis were caught doing that yesterday, the NYT would be all over them.


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 4:05 am

Yeah, you're right! It also works for out of control social spending too and getting involved in education. Check it out we spend ten times what the Chinese spend on education for a 30% of the population! Darn fear mongerers!


SJE July 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

Yes, and
1. Using chips manufactured in China that are vulnerable to external controls
2. Having poor information security
3. Not calling out and punishing the Chinese when they steal IP.

Its not just military. The Canadian company NORTEL was a telecom leader and then suddenly lost its market lead to a Chinese company that came from nowhere with all the same technology at less cost. There is strong circumstantial evidence that its IP was stolen.


cs4 July 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

You're right. It is DEFENSE tech not offense. China has one little carrier (compared to yours) and all hell breaks loose about them trying to attack the US. One new but inferior (compared to yours) fighter and you are sending in the marines to wreck havoc. So trigger happy, no wonder you keep making enemies. If they have stolen your technology, move to a higher level, crying about it won't get it back. They've hacked into your system, change the locks or the system. They competed unfairly, then innovate to nullify the advantage. You guys have been saying how innovative you are, now is the time to show it.


blight_ July 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

At least you're not promoting fortran at the expense of all other languages.

And don't hate on Python, Matlab and R.

And yes, nobody can afford to be a hobby scientist anymore. In the old days, people had patrons and those patrons were interested in Enlightenment ideals. Now they're getting their names attached to hospital wings and funding the arts. Occasionally they endow a professorship or a scholarship in the sciences, but something like the Macarthur "Genius Grant" is exceedingly rare, to reward pure ambitious innovative science.


blight_ July 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

The people in defense and aerospace are hopefully innovating while we type. Well, one hopes.


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

cs4 – Your right. We should change the locks but don't try to take credit for advances you didn't EARN unless you're trying ti justify stealing.

Sending in the Marines? Making more enemies? That Chinese state propaganda IS effective!


Dfens July 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm

You want to know what really happens to your money? You pay defense contractors a $1.10 for every $1.00 they spend on development. That $0.10 is free money. Why ever come up with a product when you can continue to do "development" for as long as that government cow will stand there and be milked? Your tax dollars hard at work!


Dfens July 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Maybe one day you'll get frustrated enough to stop paying defense contractors to screw you…


Batman July 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

They do, I'm in the UK struggling to pay a mortgage and feed three kids on a builder's wage. I get mildly annoyed when I see my tax being spent on Indian development programmes so they can spend their money on nuclear weapons. I'd rather use the money to contribute to the US carrier groups since we don't bloody well have any anymore!!!!!!!!!!


Dfens July 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Congratulations. You'll be able to get a good job and won't be treated like crap by countrymen who are so steeped in "entitlement mentality" that they truly believe you owe it to them to design and build them good products no matter how badly they treat you.


Dfens July 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Are you seriously so simple minded?


Dfens July 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm

The asstronauts destroyed NASA.


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Ah, couldn't find that ONE document huh?


majr0d July 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm

LOL True! reminds me of the Dep't of education. We give more money to low performing school systems to fix problems. Where's the motivation to fix the problem?

"Uh Oh! You didn't just equate education spending waste to defense spending waste! No you didn't!"

Yep, it's not right. Neither are. It's just one form of waste is PC.


Chops July 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Only way to do that is to get rid of the crooked politicians that are lining their pockets while approving the continual screwing from the defense contractors.


blight_ July 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thought Rockwell designed the Service Module and Grumman the LEM, and the Saturn rockets were designed by NASA and built in New Orleans.


Matt July 5, 2012 at 1:16 am

1) Force multipliers apply to naval vessels as much as any other system. 600 WWII/previous ships are not as effective as a force of 300 modern ships. All advanced nations (even the socialist ones you love so much) have reduced their numbers as advances in tech increased both cost and combate effectiveness. The USN is still by far the largest, most powerful navy afloat.
2) Correction, /NASA/ doesnt have any new orbiter. America does, the private sector (aka capitalism) is quickly developing its own space planes (think Virgin Mobile). The flaw is not the contractors, its the federal gov.'s "corporate welfare" policies ("crony capitalism") and bloated size that causes all those tax dollars to go to waste.


cs4 July 2, 2012 at 5:21 am

Most of them were bought after the US military had put them in use, after they were debugged. F35 is still a long way from being operational.


majr0d July 2, 2012 at 5:59 am

First the Japanese kicked our butts. Then they don't buy our equipment because it's the best. Now they only buy it "after" the bugsare worked out. You're all over the map.


majr0d July 2, 2012 at 6:05 am

LOL, worried about you? You think you are way more important than you are.


Dfens July 2, 2012 at 8:23 am

I don't think it is. The procurement rules by which the military buys weapons is not coded in law. It is part of the Federal Acquisition Rules that are basically written by some Washington DC bureaucrats. Seems to me like a little sunlight is all that would really be needed to fix these. Some people talking about the real problem and not following every red herring the military industrial complex throws out there would probably fix things pretty quick.


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 9:22 am

I was going to say authority issues, but that works


majr0d July 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm

"Crapped on" has changed over time. It used to be when the Gov't took from you now its because the gov't won't give you.


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 10:39 am

If this were true, then the Chinese wouldn't need UT/P&W Canada to sell engine tech to them in defiance of export controls. Easy to make.

That said, the Chinese can make jet engines…but they're not at the point of pushing the envelope of engine technology yet.


Riceball July 2, 2012 at 11:08 am

I think the Japanese haven't worked on their military tech because of WW II and their constitution. Because of their aggression right before and during WW II their constitution only allows for a self-defense force and since then military service is, if not exactly looked down upon, not exactly popular and I'd imagine that extends to their arms industry. Besides, if you're only permitted a self-defense force with no "offensive" weapons then why would you bother developing a lot of your own weapon's tech when you can just simply pick and choose whatever suits your needs the best?


blight_ July 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

It wouldn't work well to destroy the F-35, especially since the program has two engines.

That said, there's really no way to stop P&W from doing stupid things unless you bar them from future business: but a business two steps from insolvency may well sell everything to the PRC, or a laid-off employee may walk off with some CAD files on a flash drive to the local consulate.


majr0d July 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Putting those in charge of making the decision in jail deals with the problem. Even when under pressure to meet goals, knowing that breaking the law will put you in jail is a detterrent and it doesn't impact the company. One can replace CEOs.


majr0d July 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

There are some systems specifically prohibited by thye Japanese constitution. E.G. ICBMs, Aircraft Carriers, Bombers. They even limit their naval replenishment forces to limit employment beyond Japanese waters.

That said the Japanese have a robust domestic weapons industry…

Tanks: Type 10, 90 & 74
APC: Type 89 & 73
Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer
Various small arms and fighting vehicles, missiles etc.
(NOTE: Japanese type __ are vehicles of domestic dev elopment, innovation and construction. They don't import a T72 and reverse engineer it like the Chinese)

The Japanese don't have a problem importing weapons systems but they have struck a balance with domestic production and unlike many countries don't export a lot which is probably why thier stuff isn't well known.


UAVgeek July 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Are you nuts? Jet engines are HARDEST thing to make. The Chinese are only now making engines that we did 40+ years ago. High temp alloys, and their manufacture (with the required emphasis on process control) is a mindblowingly exacting science. The Chinese have yet to make a reliable gen 4/4.5 engine.


UAVgeek July 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Two words: Process Control. Everything that has to do with metals is trying to make the inexact, exact. Essentially it's chemical engineering at it's heart but requires a huge number of technologies layered underneath it for it to work. High pressure autoclaves, analysis, and of course the major issue is testing. It's expensive and very, very dangerous.


joe July 3, 2012 at 3:44 am

Two more words; quantity & longevity.

An expensive smartphone can expect to sell hundreds of thousands, if not millions of copies of itself (one per smug prat in the western hemisphere) , but a tactical radio will sell a few thousand (one per platoon in the army buying it). Even assuming the former has twice the development costs of the latter, which one is going to be more expensive to the customer(s).

Second, the public at large accept (though god alone knows why) that personal electronics will be obsolete and unsupported within…what…say five to ten years?
Try getting a replacement component for a ten-year old laptop. Military platforms are usually expected to remain in service for twice that, and usually *end up* lasting three times that. .


Dfens July 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Private scientists threaten the status quo. They like to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. When companies make a profit off development, anything anyone does to shorten the development cycle, such as competing, is taking money away from the corporations. That will not be tolerated.


Auyong Ah Meng July 3, 2012 at 1:11 am

and it will not only be in figher jets or steath fighters or missle system…it is the other hardwares too..rader, smart bombs, ICBM carrier killers (since china is building up its own space capability…and yes a poster in here will say we can shoot it down…but how many of these china made satelites [concealed ones too] can u use an anti-sat missle on), cyber warfare, etc….

With numbers like that…and if china feels they have the quantitive superiority (army, airforce and navy) in the face of quality of a perceived enemy or someone they want to overawe to get concessions ….do not be surprise they will use this as a hard leverage….to get what they want….and they will over-reach…until someone stood up or misscalculation…and wars always result from that…zzz.

As it is…China is making claims to the South China seas…look at that dispute and others…their territorial claims are almost to indonesia and the phillipines…do not be surprise they start staking out large areas of the pacific as their own too as time goes by…directly or indirectly with "bought or forced allies"…



Auyong Ah Meng July 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

The pacific belongs to America…America has paid much blood and treasures for it..too much….under the indirect "management" by the USA…the pacific is not pillaged or rape for its resources mindlessly….and america can be counted on to get it more right than wrong…because the constitution and the american people wil make it right in the end…

Give China the control of the pacific…u see extinction levels like u never see before for the various sea life in the pacific…and the rape of resources unthinkingly…and permanent environmental damage on a large scale…

Mein apologes for the long reply.

Good day please.


Thomas L. Nielsen July 5, 2012 at 2:03 am

So your argument is that China necessarily must have "copied" noodles and gunpowder from someone else (like who?), because "copying is in their DNA"?

Please tell me you have some actual evidence for that (and please note that "I still think…." is not evidence).

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


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