On Aug. 30, Gregory Kausner, performing the duties of Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, established a department-wide supply chain resiliency working group to address systemic barriers currently limiting supply chain visibility, conduct resiliency assessments, and develop effective mitigation actions.
“We are working to solve a problem that took 50 years to evolve. A comprehensive strategic approach will take time, dedicated attention, and resources,” Kausner said. “Effective implementation begins with understanding our vulnerabilities and the necessary responses, so we can focus our efforts to build greater resiliency across critical supply chains.”
Over the past year, the supply chain challenges for critical medical resources in response to COVID-19 emphasized the need for resiliency in our industrial base, and this continues to be a priority for the administration, Congress, and the DoD. In February, the president signed Executive Order 14017, America’s Supply Chains, in which he directed the U.S. government to undertake a comprehensive review of critical U.S. supply chains to identify risks, address vulnerabilities and develop a strategy to promote resilience. Multiple recent National Defense Authorization Acts require DoD to better understand its supply chains, and the current and future threats to their stability and security.
The Office of Industrial Policy, leading the working group, intends to do more than just address reporting requirements. “The working group is a down payment on a long-term problem,” explained Jesse Salazar, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy. “It coalesces efforts from across the Department and provides a mechanism to develop a framework and proactive strategy to change the way DoD does business, and better secure our supply chains.”
The two-year effort will leverage work already being performed around supply chain resiliency across the department and the interagency. Initial findings will be included in the one-year report on the defense industrial base, in response to Executive Order 14017.