DoD Forms New Task Force to Strengthen Supply Chain – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

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WASHINGTON: the Ministry of Defense has created a new working group dedicated to the fight against In progress challenges related to the visibility and resilience of its supply chain, including ways to mitigate risk.

Gregory Kausner, who currently serves as Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, established the Supply Chain Resiliency Task Force on August 30, the Pentagon said on the week last.

“A comprehensive strategic approach will take time, attention and resources,” Kausner said in a department press release announcing the working group. “Effective implementation begins with understanding our vulnerabilities and the responses needed, so that we can focus our efforts on building the resilience of critical supply chains. “

The task force will build on existing DoD efforts to bolster supply chain risks that are an increasingly critical concern for the Pentagon, Congress, and the Biden administration. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has brought to light some long-standing perceived supply chain vulnerabilities, with an official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in early spring describing the events of last year as ” awakening” . “

“We are working to solve a problem that has taken 50 years to evolve,” Kausner said.

According to the statement, the Bureau of Industrial Policy, headed by Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy Jesse Salazar, will lead the activities of the working group.

“It brings together the efforts of the entire department and provides a mechanism to develop a framework and a proactive strategy to change the way DoD does business and better secure our supply chains,” Salazar said in the statement. department.

The task force’s work is expected to take two years, according to the DoD, although it did not provide details on the project’s scope, milestones or expected results.

In February, President Joe Biden released a Executive Decree requiring a full review of US supply chains. The order requires the DoD early next year to report “early findings” on defense supply chain issues. But the new task force will go beyond simple “reporting requirements,” the ministry said.

The defense budget proposed by the Biden administration for 2022 included language dealing with the defense supply chain, characterizing microelectronics manufacturing in particular as “fragile and threatened.” The budget seeks $ 2.5 billion in funding to address the “capabilities and capabilities” of chips used in weapons systems and off-the-shelf commercial technologies (COTS), which range from servers to smartphones.

More recently, a bipartisan congressional task force released a Defense Critical Supply Chain report, in which it noted existing risks to microelectronics such as semiconductors, as well as rare earth elements. (which are essential to the manufacture of a range of electronic and industrial components), medical supplies and other important products. This report yielded six legislative steps to strengthen defense supply chains, and the new DoD task force appears poised to tackle some of them directly, including actions around the assessment of defense supply chains. risks and improved visibility.

The DoD is already working to solve the chip problem through a multi-year, multi-program strategy involving the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Where DARPA, and the national security technology accelerator, or NSTXL.

Approximately 70 percent of fleas in the world are currently manufactured in Asia. Last month, the Pentagon announced that US tech giants Intel and Qualcomm had been selected under the Rapid Advanced Microelectronics Prototypes-Commercial (RAMP-C) program managed by NSTXL to diversify chip designs for applications in defense, as well as to build capacity by turning a US-based foundry, which is a facility specializing in manufacturing chips.

“The goal of RAMP-C is to provide DoD access to advanced semiconductor technology through US-based sources of advanced custom and dual-use integrated circuits,” Brett Hamilton, Scientist honored for trusted microelectronics at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division and deputy senior director of microelectronics OUSD R&E, said in a statement announcing the RAMP-C awards for the first phase. “This will enable the implementation of complex and computation-intensive artificial intelligence algorithms for DoD AI, electronic warfare, radar and autonomy applications. It will also facilitate the use of robust cybersecurity methods integrated, cryptography and authentication in the DoD hardware and the use of the complex computational capacity required for the 5G RAN radio access network and Internet of Things systems. .

In an organization as large and cumbersome as the Pentagon, the chip problem is just one of many supply chain hurdles the task force was presumably created to help overcome. But, officials acknowledged, it will take time.

“The task force is a down payment on a long-term problem,” Salazar said.


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