As we have discussed before, President Obama’s fiscal year 2010 defense budget suffers from serious conceptual flaws concerning the nature of future warfare and the force structure the American military needs to fight and win. But there is another related issue that must merit the serious consideration of Congress as it prepares to make lasting decisions about the future: the stability and health of America’s defense industrial base.

Since World War II, the United States has benefited from the skills of a robust defense manufacturing workforce. America’s Air Force and Navy operate the world’s best fighter aircraft, long-range bombers, aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers, and submarines. Although technology alone has not assured American military superiority, the defense industry has nevertheless been a potent enabler of American military might.

Contrary to what many who raise the importance of the industrial base would argue, the choices Congress is faced with should not be directed by how they stand to affect American jobs. Congress should instead be asking how their decisions will impact the highly-skilled workforce that is responsible for designing, testing, and manufacturing the numerous weapons platforms that help to enable America’s military superiority.

A new Backgrounder by Heritage Foundation Senior Analyst Mackenzie Eaglen and Eric Sayers does just this, looking intently at the F-22 Raptor, C-17 Globemaster III, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-15E Strike Eagle, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Airborne Laser, and several rotary wing programs, and how the pending closure of these lines will effect the industrial base and American national security.