July 28, 2021

A Plan to Secure America's Supply Chains

By Martijn Rasser and Megan Lamberth

Supply chains — once the esoteric concern of inventory specialists and shipping companies — have emerged over the past year as a crucial and disconcertingly fragile link in global commerce. The White House and Congress, recognizing that the sinews of America’s economic vitality and national security have become increasingly stressed, have pursued parallel efforts to better understand and address vulnerabilities in the country’s critical supply chains.

In March, the House Armed Services Committee stood up the Defense Critical Supply Chain Task Force, and gave the bipartisan committee three months to formulate legislative proposals that could be folded into the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. The task force’s efforts culminated in a final report, released last week, that offers actionable recommendations for the Defense Department to secure America’s defense supply chains, and lessen reliance on adversarial manufacturing for critical supplies.

Supply chain vulnerabilities are a central component of the global technology competition.

The task force’s mandate was three-fold: understand the Defense Department’s processes for analyzing supply chain risk; determine how the Pentagon prioritizes and mitigates identified risk; and offer recommendations that Congress and other relevant agencies can implement to “help build resilience against future shocks to the supply chain” both in the short and long term.

The report lays out six overarching recommendations as legislative proposals for inclusion in the NDAA. These recommendations include statutory requirements for supply chain risk management, auditing, and diversification, bolstering relevant human capital, enhancing international partnerships, and enacting a comprehensive rare earths supply chain strategy. These recommendations are sensible and would be logical additions to the next NDAA.

Read the full article from The Hill.

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