Biden Signs Executive Order to Review U.S. Supply Chain
President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday mandating a review of the U.S. supply chain for critical goods, including materials needed for manufacturing COVID-19 products ― fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail.
The order calls for an “immediate 100-day review across federal agencies,” in tandem with Congress, to pinpoint supply-chain vulnerabilities for four critical product areas, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in the manufacture of drugs.
“In recent decades, more than 70 percent of API production facilitators supplying the U.S. have moved offshore,” notes a White House statement, adding that federal assessment of the API supply chain “will complement the ongoing work to secure supply chains needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The order also mandates a “more in-depth one-year review of a broader set of U.S. supply chains,” including the public health and biological preparedness industrial base, outlined as one of six key sectors for assessment. Specifically, agencies and departments must identify:
- Critical goods and materials within supply chains;
- What manufacturing capabilities are needed to produce these materials;
- What vulnerabilities are created by failure to develop domestic capabilities;
- The locations of important manufacturing and production assets;
- Whether substitutes or alternative sources are available for critical goods;
- The state of workforce skills and what gaps exist for all sectors; and
- What role transportation systems play in supporting supply chains and industrial bases.
The order also says federal agencies should recommend steps to improve supply-chain resiliency, make policy recommendations addressing risks and put forth proposals for new research and development. In addition, agencies must commit to regularly assessing supply-chain resilience, including formal reviews occurring four times a year.
Lastly, the order requests that agencies partner with external stakeholders in industry, academia and local governments, among others.
Shortly after taking office, Biden signed a related executive order to accelerate the process of addressing shortage in COVID-19 supplies (DID, Feb. 10). It called for the government to assess the availability of treatments, supplies and materials critical for the pandemic response, identify supply gaps and assess if U.S. firms can provide the supplies in a timely manner.
That order also called for the development of a new strategy to build up U.S. manufacturing for future pandemics during a 180-day review period ― and invoked the Defense Production Act to bolster production of COVID-19 vaccines, at-home tests and personal protective equipment. ― Jason Scott