Former Pentagon official warns of economic, security fallout from Baltimore bridge collision

"If nothing else, the traffic is going to be horrendous around Baltimore. The other is absolutely shipping and logistic chains," he said.

Published: March 26, 2024 8:08pm

Updated: March 26, 2024 8:08pm

Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow and former Pentagon official Brent Sadler on Tuesday warned that the country would quickly experience negative economic and national security consequences from the collision of container ship with the Francis Scott Key Bridge near Baltimore.

The container ship collided with a main column of the bridge around 1:30 a.m., resulting in the bridge's total collapse. The debris from the bridge is likely to plug the critical waterway, which spans the access point to Baltimore's harbor.

Speaking on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show, Sadler warned that the consequences would be considerable "[c]ertainly for the Mid Atlantic, you know, Virginia, Maryland area, it's going to be felt fairly soon."

"If nothing else, the traffic is going to be horrendous around Baltimore. The other is absolutely shipping and logistic chains," he continued. "A lot of the material that goes in and out of that port is going to affect people. It's also military, a port that supports military operations. So there are three naval logistics ships that are stuck inside Baltimore Harbor right now because of this bridge being brought down."

"So it's going to impact people's daily lives right away. It's also going to impact national security," he warned. "And sadly, it's probably a vulnerability at other ports across the country, that's not a new problem. But one now, with hopefully added emphasis, and it's good to finally see the Secretary of Transportation on the scene, looking at the ports and hopefully we'll get some real investment and some real action to really modernize and safeguard our ports."

Sadler went on to assert that possibility of such a collision was a long-standing risk to which sailors had grown accustomed, but suggested that this incident was likely to drive a change in industry attitudes.

"So again, the bridge was built or completed in 1977. So, you know, and frequently large ships transited underneath the Francis Scott Key Bridge there in Baltimore," he said. "And so the vulnerability I'm sure was known, it was just a risk that people felt they could live with, unfortunately, until they couldn't. And I think now the consequences with our very brittle supply chains, it's all too obvious that the risk is something we can no longer live with."

"And if you add in an adversary who wants to do us harm, the odds and the risk even go up even higher," Sadler concluded. "So we have to take our ports seriously. I think we've taken for granted for far too long that the store shelves stay stocked, the lights stay on, without realizing how much we rely on shipping to keep our economy afloat."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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