Does doing business overseas create an added security risk for major corporations which also hold U.S. Defense contracts?
Op-ed by C J Oakes, December 2, 2016
President-Elect Donald Trump succeeded in efforts to protect the Carrier jobs in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mr. Trump used a smart tactic on UT in securing the Carrier deal–move the factory and lose the much more valuable Defense Contracts the company now has with the United States. In other words, save millions and lose billions.
Huntington Plant Moving to Mexico Despite Warning?
It appears that the United Technologies Electronic Controls plant is not part of the deal–it is still slated for a move to Mexico. With it, a loss of 700 American manufacturing jobs.
UTEC is located in Huntington, IN. Whereas the Carrier facility develops air conditioning units, the Huntington plant develops electronic controls for air conditioning and cooling units. However, UTEC Huntington does more than that. Per the UTEC website,
“UTEC is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide.”
In other words, Mr. Trump is blocking a company which manufactures completed air conditioner units from going overseas while allowing another company under the same umbrella corporation to move–the latter providing more sensitive defense-related components.
What is the Potential for Added National Security Risks in Companies with Overseas Operations?
Allowing such a move seems very counter-productive in terms of National Security. As most security experts agree, the risk of someone inside a company obtaining sensitive information is higher than the risk of someone hacking in from outside the company.
“Staff members present the biggest security risk to a company, and the most likely weak point when it comes to data in the cloud.” – BetaNews
So whereas hiring workers in America poses some risk to National Security, hiring workers outside the nation and providing them with inside access to the same sensitive data poses a much higher risk.
In the case of Carrier vs UTEC moving to Mexico (both owned by United Technologies, a major defense contractor), the decision seems a no-brainer: Don’t let EITHER factory move overseas.
In fact, Mr. Trump seems to be on to something, whether he realizes it or not.
Understanding that many companies today seek to reduce costs by cutting back on labor, many will move overseas. The political and taxation climate created by foolhardy lawmakers has permitted this. And clearly, the American people are largely tired of such lazy representation–by many accounts, this was part of the reason Mr. Trump was elected.
Mr. Trump promised to return jobs to America, to slow the loss of jobs from America, and to “Make America Great Again.”
For many, that conjures images of a return to the U.S. industrial heyday of the 50s. The time when American production peaked. And while the economy is important, security is certainly far more important. Without industrial security, economic security is not possible.
So what the President-Elect could do is tell all corporations that IF they manufacture overseas, they CANNOT hold defense contracts. By operating overseas, they automatically open themselves to greater security risks–National Security risks. This is not punitive, but rather, common sense.
At a time when National Security is more important than ever, the United States cannot afford to be lax in any areas. Hence, the only companies with access to sensitive defense information should be those keeping operations state-side.
Can the President Force Corporations to Keep Operations in the United States to Minimize Risks to National Security?
He could and he should. The number one risk to systems security are employees. Locating a company in possession of sensitive defense data on foreign soil opens the nation up to senseless National Security leaks. Why would any so-called patriotic corporation do such a thing? Why would any President allow it? Why would Congress? Why would the people?
“The Pen is mightier than the sword.” – Terry Pratchett
Never forget the power of information. If we really want to secure our borders, we need to start with securing information. This means stopping corporations with defense contracts from locating overseas. This means forcing such corporations to come back to America.
As with charity, security starts at home.