Exposing the Supply Chain is a Matter of National Security

The phrase "Supply Chain" may make you immediately think of retail giants like Amazon and Walmart or manufacturers like GM and John Deere, but government is highly reliant on security supply chains. A supply chain is the network of all the people, organizations, resources, activities and technology involved in the creation and sale of a product. It encompasses the delivery of source materials from the supplier to the manufacturer, to its eventual delivery to the end user. In government, supply chains have come front and center with the Trump administration's rulings banning government use of products from certain Chinese manufacturers citing security concerns that products could contain ways for the Chinese to spy on the U.S. Companies selling technology to the government have to be able to trace the source of all elements of their products to ensure nothing originated with the banned distributors.

Being able to do this requires a mature supply chain process and solution. Interagency committees have been established to determine best practices in securing increasingly complex supply chains. Understanding supply chains is an expensive undertaking and one survey found that small and mid-sized businesses are opting out, counting on the fact that they will not be the ones called out to defend their supply chain to government. This mentality may not be an option for long.

DoD is getting more and more prescriptive in their security and supply chain guidance, adding the review of contractor purchasing systems as part of bid reviews. GSA has also explored banning the use of refurbished IT, since that includes products where a supply chain cannot be re-created.

The rules and regulations around supply chains can seem just as complex as the chains themselves. Luckily, it's a topic of discussion at a number of upcoming events.

  • Military Additive Manufacturing Summit (February 5-6, 2020; Tampa, FL) - An educational & training "Town Hall" forum brings together thought leaders and key policy-makers across Military services, defense agencies, and civilian organizations for actionable discussions & debate. This year's summit will focus on the latest revolutionary technologies and innovations being developed to further various additive manufacturing processes & current level of capability, in order to deliver greater flexibility to the Warfighter on the battlefield.
  • AFCEA NOVA IC IT Day: Protecting our Technological Advantage (February 19, 2020; Herndon, VA) -- The Northern Virginia Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA NOVA) hosts this event with a wide range of discussion addressing the key topics of AI, Cyber, Cloud, RPA, and Blockchain.
  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Specialty Webinar (February 26, 2020; webinar) -This half-day webinar provides education on the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It covers basic export control concepts one needs to understand in order to execute essential global business operations in a compliant manner. It will include examples and interactive Q&A to ensure participants leave with a working knowledge of the regulations to immediately apply to their engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain processes.
  • NDIA Michigan Chapter Cybersecurity: Defense Sector Summit (March 10-11, 2020; Detroit, MI) - Focused on Cyber-Physical Security (CPS) of military connected and autonomous systems such as: ground vehicle systems, military drones, heavy trucks, aerospace, robotics and maritime platforms, this event will discuss the intersection of physical assets and cybersecurity.
  • 2020 FAST Conference (April 14-16, 2020; Atlanta, GA) - This national training conference is designed for government employees involved in the acquisition process as well as industry partners. The 2020 theme is Advancing Acquisition. Among the topics the event will explore is "what's on the leading edge" (legislation, reform pilots and initiatives) including topics related to supply chain.

Let us know where you are learning about the impacts of supply chain regulations. Share your events in the comments.

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