U.S. lawmakers today introduced a bill to improve the nation’s supply chain readiness and its ability to respond to crises in light of vulnerabilities exposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the National Manufacturing Guard Act of 2021, which would invest $1 billion over five years to help the U.S. government mitigate future supply chain emergencies, they said.
Among its provisions, the bill would establish an Office of Supply Chain Preparedness within the Department of Commerce, charged with preparing for future crises that would threaten the country’s ability to produce or obtain critical resources, such as personal protective equipment (PPE). The bill would also create a National Manufacturing Guard that would work to increase the supply of critical resources in an emergency; a public-private Supply Chain Data Exchange for insight into supply chain vulnerabilities; and an apprenticeship program to develop the U.S. manufacturing workforce. It would also establish a Supply Chain Advisory Council made up of federal, state, and local government representatives, labor organizations, corporations, academic organizations, and trade groups.
Both senators said the pandemic raised awareness of supply chain vulnerabilities and the country’s need to better address security and continuity of supply.
The bill is supported by several manufacturing industry organizations, including America Makes, a public-private partnership focused on additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP) technology research and innovation. America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski commented on the legislation Friday.
“The need for a comprehensive, national approach to supply chain readiness is critical to the United States’ ability to respond in times of crisis,” Wilczynski said. “With the White House’s renewed focus on manufacturing policy, this bipartisan supply chain legislation comes at the appropriate time to continue the conversation and establish an Office of Supply Chain Preparedness to ensure our country is ready to respond appropriately to future scenarios and codify a lasting regulatory framework.”
The legislation is also endorsed by the American Small Manufacturers Coalition, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the National Defense Industrial Association, and Intelligent Manufacturing Systems International.