President Joe Biden is preparing to make good on a campaign promise to review critical supply chains and reduce American dependence on imports for pandemic-related equipment and materials.
In July 2020, while he was officially still the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Biden laid out a plan to help the U.S. prevent shortages of critical products needed in times of crisis. The plan was in response to what he and others saw as failed efforts of the Trump administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If elected, “Biden will launch a [100-day] review of U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities and implement a national strategy to close them,” the plan stated. “He will sign a comprehensive executive order … directing relevant agencies to identify the specific critical products where the U.S. faces national security supply chain vulnerabilities and to address these weaknesses immediately.”
That executive order is expected to be released “in the coming weeks,” according to reports citing unnamed administration sources. Relevant agencies named in a draft of the order include the White House National Security Council and the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Commerce, Reuters reported.
Biden signed a related executive order in January aimed at strengthening COVID-19 supply chains. It directs federal agencies to fill supply chain shortfalls that include shortages of needle syringes available to administer the vaccine. It was one of a flurry of presidential actions issued by Biden the day after he was sworn in as president.
Last year’s supply chain review strategy asserted that the current pandemic exposed how the U.S. was vulnerable to global disruptions. “As president, Joe Biden will put Americans to work rebuilding domestic manufacturing of critical products to ensure that the U.S. and our allies have the capacity and resilience to make what we need for our national security, rather than be dependent on countries like China,” it stated.
The plan also stated that while medical supplies and equipment are the most pressing and urgent needs, “U.S. supply chain risks are not limited to these items. The U.S. needs to close supply chain vulnerabilities across a range of critical products on which the U.S. is dangerously dependent on foreign suppliers. America needs a stronger, more resilient domestic supply chain in a number of areas, including energy and grid resilience technologies, semiconductors, key electronics and related technologies, telecommunications infrastructure and key raw materials.”
The plan stated that President Biden will:
- Use the full power of the federal government to rebuild U.S. domestic manufacturing capacity of our supply chains for critical products.
- Implement a comprehensive approach to ensure the U.S. has the critical supplies it needs for future crises and its national security.
- Work with allies to protect their supply chains and to open new markets to U.S. exports.