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U.S. Department of Defense Wants Contractors to Stop Using Chinese Suppliers

An F-35 jet arrives at its new operational base at Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah on Sept. 2, 2015. (Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)
An F-35 jet arrives at its new operational base at Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah on Sept. 2, 2015. (Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is taking steps to ensure that U.S. defense companies decouple from supply chains involving China as much as possible.

The U.S. military’s reliance on Chinese inputs came into the spotlight earlier in September, when the Pentagon halted deliveries of fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets after it was found that a component used in the engines came from China. The component was a magnet made from a samarium and cobalt alloy originating in China.

The magnets are used on the plane’s turbomachine pumps, which are manufactured by U.S.-based Honeywell International. Honeywell has reportedly identified an alternate supplier for the materials while the Pentagon is expected to issue a waiver to resume F-35 deliveries for now.

William A. LaPlante, U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, was asked during a Sept. 9 press briefing why Honeywell hadn’t detected the Chinese component for the better part of the past two decades.

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