March 17, 2020

Pandemic Problem: America's Supply Chains are Dangerously Brittle

By Martijn Rasser

With all the uncertainty swirling around the Covid-19 outbreak, one thing is crystal clear: the methods needed to prevent or contain an epidemic have exposed the vulnerability and fragility of U.S. supply chains. Quarantines, travel bans, and factory shutdowns showed the risks in achieving economies of scale through geographic concentration.

Concerns over certain supply chains are not new. In Washington, DC policy circles, much attention has been paid to areas with a direct impact on defense and national security, such as semiconductors and rare earths. What the ongoing crisis lays bare, however, is the extent of the brittleness in areas that are not considered traditional national security matters but still have a tremendous impact on America’s ability to compete, defend itself and just plain function.

Read the full article in The National Interest.

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