National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security underscores importance of collaboration
Monday, March 19, 2012
The release of the National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security (The Strategy) at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has put a strong spotlight on the increasingly pivotal role of the global supply chain in the nation’s economic development. In a letter introducing the strategy, President Obama noted that the global supply chain “is essential to the United States’ economy and security and is a critical global asset.” We absolutely agree.
Recent events remind us how exposed this asset can be: hurricanes in the Gulf, volcanoes in the North Atlantic, and unpredictable criminal and terrorist acts worldwide. The Strategy is designed to address the challenges posed by such threats.
A recent report by Sean K. Moon, senior policy advisor, Transportation and Cargo Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, condenses the essentials of The Strategy, which has two goals:
(1) To promote the efficient and secure movement of goods
(2) To foster a global supply chain system that is prepared for and can withstand evolving threats and hazards, and can rapidly recover from disruptions
The strategic approach is to manage risk through focused measures of deterrence, such as implementing security measures throughout the global supply chain system sufficient to deter terrorist or other bad actors from exploiting it as a channel for delivering harm, protecting infrastructure critical to the continued operation of the global supply chain system as a whole, and embedding resilience through the ability to surge, flex, and quickly recover from any disruptions that occur. It will also ensure that investments improve the efficiency of the system for moving commerce.
Over the next six months, as a next step in implementing The Strategy, the federal government will be contacting foreign and domestic stakeholders for their input on how to best implement the plan and foster a secure, efficient, and resilient global system. Specifically, the government is interested in recommendations regarding (but not limited to) the following areas:
- Specific opportunities to implement the goals of The Strategy and enhance the efficiency and resilience of the global supply chain
- Understanding evolving threats (terrorist as well as natural) and vulnerabilities in the global supply chain as a whole and among different modes of transportation
- International best practices, standards, or guidelines for reducing threats/vulnerabilities and opportunities to encourage global implementation of them
- Opportunities for the U.S. Government to work in concert with industry and the international community to further strengthen the global supply chain, including ways to increase participation in and improve the effectiveness of private-public partnership programs
- Assumptions that currently inform supply chain security policies and programs that may be incorrect, dated, or obsolete
This outreach is an acknowledgement that collaboration is an essential step in strengthening the supply chain, something the president underscores in his introduction to The Strategy: “The federal government cannot achieve this alone. Partnerships with state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and the international community are critical to realizing our shared goal of building a new framework to strengthen and protect this vital system.”
Both the need for a strategic approach to the global supply chain and the importance of collaboration in securing that chain were anticipated in the 2008 research report by E2open and Aberdeen that underscored the risk of supply chain disruptions and gaps in risk management that increased vulnerabilities. Not surprisingly, improved collaboration across the supply chain was pointed to as the number one action to be taken for better risk management.
That thinking holds even more strongly today, so we encourage all to contribute in the outreach program and thereby support The Strategy as it moves forward to enhance global supply chain security.