What sectors of our economy should or should not be included in the concept of National Security.

A story I just heard on NPR got me thinking.

It detailed some of the changes that the current Administration has made and announcements and policies it has enacted based on the idea that certain sectors of our economy are vital to the National Security.

Most notably Steel, Aluminum, intellectual properties and other items.

Since the idea of what constitutes a threat to National Security has moved beyond actual military aggression or threat and is now being brought into the realm of economic indicators, is it possible that online sales and online marketplaces are more of a threat to National Security than anything else?

The story that connects to the national security issue was the next one they aired. It was remarked on the rising minimum wage and how it directly impacts whether or not retailers can survive.

I’m a strong supporter of increased minimum wage. That said, it is undoubtedly the case that when you raise minimum wage it is harder for retailers to stay open no less make any kind of a profit against the huge impact of online retail.

I’m wondering if the single greatest threat to National Security in the United States, or any other single economy on the planet is the rise of online Commerce.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

I am not following at all. Steel and titanium are needed to build weapons. A few years ago, DoD basically seized production of ballistic glass to rapidly build vehicles to protect troops from roadside bombs. (Sorry, celebrities, if you wanted an armored car, but troops needed that armor first.)

What exactly does online commerce and retailers have to do with national security?

I’d guess food is pretty high on the national security list. I know I’d be nervous to live in a country that didn’t grow enough food to feed itself. Probably the ingredients to make war would be next; metal and oil. After that I’d say we’re probably getting too far afield.

I don’t see any connection to me buying groceries from Amazon or Safeway to national security the path to market can be changed fairly easily in the event of a crisis but developing whole new sectors and ramping them up to match a war machine seems impossible at least if you have people already doing the job they can teach others.

I think describing those as “economic indicators” is a mistake.

Anything that can be used for military purposes might conceivably be on such a list.

There’s also a rush by reporters to get things into categories and to ask questions about categories, even at times when a different question might be more suitable.

I’d say ICs are a lot more important than steel, especially since it takes longer to ramp a fab than a steel plant. A very large proportion of our chips are built in fabs in Taiwan, which is not the safest place in a war. Not to mention the other parts of the process. Back when I worked for Bell Labs our chips were fabbed in Orando but they went to Malaysia to be packaged.
There are still fabs in the US, but I hope their capacity would be adequate in a long term emergency.

It depends on who you ask, but industries vital to infrastructure or defense or ones that can be weaponized are typically considered vital to national security.

For example this list is from InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and the private sector for the purpose protecting against cyber attacks:
Agriculture and Food
Commercial Facilities
Critical Manufacturing
Defense Industrial Base
Emergency Services
Financial Services
Government Facilities
Healthcare and Public Health
Information Technology
Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste
Transportation Systems
Water and Wastewater Systems