Obama Announces Security Strategy for Global Supply Chains
By MacKenzie C. Babb
Washington - President Obama has asked the departments of State and Homeland Security to develop a plan to safeguard the international trade and transportation systems from interruptions due to terrorism, crime and natural disasters.
"The United States and nations around the world depend upon the efficient and secure transit of goods through the global supply chain system," Obama said in his introduction to the National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security, released January 25.
The president said that in recent years, advances in communications technology, along with reductions in trade barriers and production costs, have opened new markets and created new jobs and opportunities for workers.
"The global supply system that supports this trade is essential to the United States' economy and security and is a critical global asset," he said.
In recent years, disruptions to supply chains have been caused by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, as well as by criminal and terrorist networks. Obama said these interruptions hurt global economic growth, and that the U.S. government will address the challenges by strengthening national and international policies.
The president said his administration's new strategy seeks to improve global supply chains to protect the welfare of the American people and to secure U.S. economic prosperity.
"We reject the false choice between security and efficiency and firmly believe that we can promote economic growth while protecting our core values as a nation and as a people," Obama said. He added that the strategy endorses both a national approach and active collaboration with the international community.
The new strategy considers different methods: building a layered defense, addressing threats early and fostering a resilient system to absorb and rapidly recover from unanticipated disruptions.
"By institutionalizing information-sharing arrangements, streamlining government processes and synchronizing standards and procedures, we can realize new efficiencies while strengthening global supply chains," the president said.
The departments of State and Homeland Security will lead a six-month engagement period with the international community and industry entities to solicit feedback and specific recommendations on how to implement the strategy in a cost-effective and collaborative manner, according to a January 25 White House fact sheet. Specifically, the departments will seek to refine the U.S. government's understanding of global supply chain threats and risks across air, land and sea as well as to improve threat detection, information analysis and international sharing capabilities.
Obama emphasized that the federal government cannot improve global supply-chain security alone. He called on state and local governments, the private sector and the international community to work together toward the "shared goal of building a new framework to strengthen and protect this vital system."
The strategy was announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at the start of the five-day World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)