Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) on Monday introduced a bill aimed at strengthening the U.S. defense supply chain by requiring the Defense Department to maintain close tabs on various aspects of its supply chain.
The Defense Supply Chain Security Act of 2021, which has also been introduced as an amendment to the Senate’s version of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, would require DoD to annually assess the workforce, infrastructure and industrial base capabilities and capacity to meet current domestic manufacturing needs and industry capabilities for future defense needs.
The Government Accountability Office would also be directed to report on defense supply chain security efforts by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.
“In a world with evolving national security threats, including an increasingly aggressive China, and disruptions to our supply chain brought on by COVID-19, we must make sure that our military is equipped with the supplies that they need to face any challenge,” Hassan said in a statement.
During the third quarter of 2021, a number of U.S. defense prime contractors experienced supply chain disruptions related to COVID-19 that have led to some program delays. The typical COVID-related impacts have been shortages of computer chips, employee absenteeism, and logistics logjams.