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Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit (As Delivered)

Thank you all and good morning. Thanks to our colleagues at the Commerce Department, the International Trade Administration, and SelectUSA: for attracting over $130 billion in foreign direct investment over the last three-and-a-half years, directly supporting more than 100,000 American jobs; for inviting the Defense Department to this investment summit for the first time ever; and for your appreciation, which we share, that America's economic competitiveness and our national security interests are one and the same.

I know at the Commerce Department, that understanding starts at the top. And we're fortunate over at the Pentagon to have strong partners in Secretary Raimondo and her team.

The roots of our collaboration run deep. For our part, Secretary Austin and I know that DoD's mission of defending the nation is about protecting everything that the Commerce Department and this audience stand for.

Because the free flow of commerce and communication depend on the freedoms of the sea, air, outer space, and cyberspace. The U.S. military and our allies and partners defend these domains, we keep them safe, so that you can do what you do best — invest, innovate, build, sell, buy, and grow — so that all of our societies can prosper in peace.

And every day, together with partners and allies, we provide the security and stability that enable peace and prosperity to thrive — from the Indo-Pacific to the Arabian Gulf, from sub-Saharan Africa to the North Atlantic, and beyond.

Now, in this era of generational competition, the ties between the economic and security sectors are even stronger. 

That's why, at the Pentagon, we care more than ever before about the security and resilience of our supply chains — so we're excited to see the Commerce Department's new, first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Center getting up and running, to inform decisions across the entirety of the U.S. government.

And it's why the Biden-Harris Administration's focus on American innovation, manufacturing, and production has been so important for national security. Because our military strength depends, in part, on our overall economic strength here at home.

Since 2021, the Defense Department has made significant and sustained investments — across four annual defense budgets and multiple supplemental funding bills — to strengthen the U.S. industrial base, short-term and long-term. To help prime the pump, our industry-focused investments have included:

•            Over $150 million dollars for energy storage and batteries;
•            $535 million dollars for bioindustrial manufacturing;
•            More than $650 million dollars for critical minerals mining, processing, and refining,
               from California to Texas to South Carolina; and,
•            $10.3 billion dollars in microelectronics — augmented by historic CHIPS Act funding.

We're also expanding co-development, co-production, and co-sustainment opportunities with key allies and partners, and we've started new initiatives to pursue joint ventures together.

DoD's new Office of Strategic Capital is enabling our approach. We can now provide loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance to companies working in areas that align with national security priorities. Experts from our team have a booth downstairs where you can learn more.

They plan to publish their first Notice of Funding Availability this fall — calling for applications from critical supply chain companies seeking loans for modernizing equipment and scaling manufacturing, in areas ranging from biotechnology to microelectronics to advanced materials.

This will be the first of many funding calls they issue, to accelerate commercialization and scale production for as many as 31 critical technology categories. If you're focused on one of those areas, this is a new incentive that can provide both short- and long-term financing, which isn't always available in private markets.

And I know that's why you're here: to consider whether and where to invest your capital. And I'm sure you're considering all the reasons why the United States remains the top destination for foreign direct investment.

We have a skilled workforce, best-in-class researchers, outstanding universities, and an innovation ecosystem second-to-none.

Those positive attributes are a direct reflection of who we are as a democracy.

Here we don't use forced labor. We don't repress religious minorities.

Here we don't pursue crackdowns on due-diligence companies and business intelligence providers that investors need to make smart bets.

Here you can trust that your IP will be protected, that your business interests will be secure, and that good governance and the rule of law will prevail over corruption.

That's what it means to invest in America — to select USA. It's the best bet that you could possibly make. And I hope you will.

Thank you.