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1st Annual NADIC Forum | From Buy American to Buy Allied?

Updated: May 17, 2021

NADIC to host a webinar on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

Speakers & program to be announced soon here

Almost 90 years ago, the United States government instituted a ban on acquiring goods and services from abroad. The Buy American Act passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Hoover on his last full day in office, required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases. This law was initially intended to keep hostile forces out of the U.S. supply chain, and that is still the case today. While the names of the hostiles have changed over the decades, Norway has never been among them, and is today considered one of the closest allied nations to the U.S., both within security policy- and defense-industrial cooperation.

Norway has several agreements with the U.S. that underpin and facilitate bilateral defense-industrial cooperation. The Reciprocal Defense Procurement MoUfrom 1978 provides a waiver mechanism that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) can invoke to get exemptions from “Buy American”-restrictions. This entails that Norway is a so-called qualifying nation and that the DoD can opt to source defense materiel from Norway when it is deemed to be in warfighter’s and/or the public interest. In 2002 Norway and the U.S.concluded the Declaration of Principles for Enhanced Cooperation in Matters of Defense Equipment and Industry (NOR-US DoP), which also addresses the benefits and imperative of promoting reciprocal defense trade. In 2018, a bilateral Security of Supply Arrangement (SoSA) was signed at the NADIC conference by the U.S. DoD and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD), to ensure the mutual supply of defense goods and services.

The uniquely allied relationship between the U.S. and Norway, coupled with a system-wide realization within the U.S. military R&D- and acquisition communities that they are being challenged in the global great power competition with Russia and China, has created additional U.S. focus on defense innovation and production capabilities of allied nations. In fact, policy makers and the DoD alike now recognize the imperative of seeking out innovative solutions from outside the U.S.’ own borders and strengthening supply chains from allied nations.

The U.S. defined in 1994 a National Technology & Industrial Base (NTIB) to include the defense-industrial bases of U.S. and Canada. In 2016, the NTIB was expanded by then-Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Senator John McCain to also include the U.K. and Australia. In the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of FY2021, the U.S. Congress legislated several policies to solidify and further develop the authorities of the NTIB, and for the first time in history instructed the U.S. DoD to formalize a process for admitting other allied member countries. Norway has been following this process very closely over the last five years and is now positioning itself to be considered for inclusion in the NTIB.

With several bilateral agreements within defense cooperation having been put in place over the last 40+ years, Norway has never been better positioned as a trusted and attractive defense-industrial ally to the U.S.This event will bring together experts in the field to discuss what the Biden administration’s recent efforts in strengthening Buy American legislation could mean for U.S.’ defense-industrial relationship with its closest allies, and in particular Norway.

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