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Argument: Auto companies are key to US military during war

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Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., also warned about threats to the U.S. from a collapse by automakers: "Our national security could be at risk in some way or another because of the parts suppliers that supply both automobiles and weapons in defense material."[1]


Richard Lardner. "Automakers: Rescue a matter of U.S. security". Associated Press. 19 Nov. 2008 - On Sunday, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark pointed to the rapid production of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles as evidence of what a healthy domestic automotive sector can do on short notice. Thousands of the so-called "MRAPs" that protect U.S. troops from roadside bombs have been built in the last few years and sent to Iraq, Clark wrote in The New York Times.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the defense market alone isn't large enough to sustain most auto-parts suppliers, making a strong commercial industry key to their survival.

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., which also supplies parts for heavy-duty trucks used by the U.S. military, warned investors Oct. 30 in U.S. securities filings that the economic meltdown could further damage the auto industry, which could hurt its own sales or profit margins. Cummins Engine, which makes diesel engines for the military, said it sells roughly 8 percent of its engines to Chrysler for use in Dodge Ram trucks. Cummins told investors in February that a decline in Chrysler truck production could hurt its sales.

And Detroit's research and development of batteries, alternative-energy vehicles and lightweight materials all hold promise for the military. "These technologies are being developed primarily for the commercial industry but can also help our troops in battle," Levin said Tuesday.

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