Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have experienced shortages of essential products including food, medicine, personal protective equipment, and components used for manufacturing. In response, on February 24, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order (EO) on America’s Supply Chains to ensure resilient and secure supply chains for critical and essential goods. The goal of the EO is to prevent production shortages, trade interruptions, natural disasters, and actions by foreign actors from adversely impacting the United States’ industrial base. The EO also seeks to accomplish several other goals including strengthening pandemic and biopreparedness, creating jobs across the country, and helping small businesses and disadvantaged communities.
The order directs the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy to coordinate with the following Department leaders to undertake an immediate 100-day review and issue reports discussing vulnerabilities for four critical supply chains:
- Secretary of Commerce – Semiconductors and advanced packaging;
- Secretary of Defense – Critical minerals used in defense, high-tech, and other products (including rare earths and carbon fibers);
- Secretary of Energy – Large capacity batteries including those used in electric vehicles; and
- Secretary of Health and Human Services – Active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The EO also directs the following Cabinet secretaries to conduct an in-depth review and submit a report within one year discussing vulnerabilities for a broader set of supply chains:
- Secretary of Agriculture – Supply chains for food production and agricultural commodities;
- Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Homeland Security – The information and communications technology (ICT) industrial base including the development of ICT software, data, and associated services;
- Secretary of Defense – The defense industrial base;
- Secretary of Energy – The energy sector industrial base;
- Secretary of Health and Human Services – The public health and biological preparedness industrial base; and
- Secretary of Transportation – The transportation industrial base.
Departments and agencies identified in the EO are required to identify critical goods and materials, other essential goods or materials (including digital services), manufacturing or other production capabilities needed to produce those materials, and vulnerabilities created by an inability to increase domestic manufacturing capabilities. Agencies and Departments will also identify where key manufacturing and production assets exist, alternative or substitute sources for critical goods, the state of workforce skills and deficiencies, and the role transportation systems play in supporting supply chains and industrial bases. Agencies will use this information to create policy recommendations to improve resiliency by addressing risks and promoting research and development.
The Biden Administration will also create a process for the government to review supply chain resilience every four years and coordinate with industry, academia, and state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to improve the state of America’s supply chains.
The EO builds on President Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, which seeks to “Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America” by creating a strong industrial base and supply chains. The Biden Administration will continue to work with Congress to create resilient supply chains, particularly as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues.