All Policy Roads Lead to Supply Chain

Charles Cooper

Charles Cooper, Managing Director & Chair of Advocacy discusses supply chain issues at the center of major emerging policy debates, and how to incorporate supply chain security and resiliency into both policy solutions and the messaging that surrounds them.

Republicans and Democrats do not agree on much in today’s hyper-partisan environment, but they do seem aligned around the need to position supply chain issues at the center of major emerging policy debates. This is expected to continue well into 2022 and any organization seeking to advance policy should consider how to incorporate supply chain security and resiliency into both their policy solutions and the messaging that surrounds them.
Supply chain may not have been a top-tier issue (or even a term widely used) until people were unable to secure cleaning supplies and toilet paper during the pandemic, but the issue reaches well beyond consumer products. Supply chain has been used as a core driver in policy initiatives ranging from national security and trade to cyber security and domestic manufacturing – all of which have been wrapped in a narrative that focuses largely on supply chain.
While the COVID pandemic certainly brought supply chain “above the fold,” the devolving relationship between the United States and China catapulted this sector towards the top of virtually everyone’s policy agenda in Washington, DC. Some Democrats look to adjusting the supply chain away from China as a means of creating more domestic manufacturing jobs and protecting American competitiveness. Some Republicans view this adjustment as a means of protecting national security for critical technologies and reducing the emerging global risks posed by China. Almost all policymakers see supply chain as a critical link to forcing major policy shifts.
As a result, supply chain is finding its way into every major piece of legislation and many regulatory actions this year. The infrastructure package(s), National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Fiscal Year 2022 funding bills, the Endless Frontiers Act, and ongoing trade policies are deeply rooted in efforts to create supply chain resiliency and security.
Funding and policy going forward will be justified, in part, by the need to strengthen our supply chains and create mechanisms to mitigate supply chain disruptions. The Biden administration has built White House infrastructure to help lead on issues related to supply chain and Congress has generously focused spending in areas where supply chain security is needed.
The reach of supply chain policy is exponentially growing – most recently playing a prominent role in potential tax provisions, human rights policies, export controls, and technology investment.
For those seeking to influence the policy landscape, doing so without linking issues to a broader supply chain context is a recipe for not getting very far.

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