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The Department of Defense (“DoD”) requested industry comments by April 28, 2021 to assist with the DoD’s forthcoming report identifying risks and policy recommendations regarding the supply chain for strategic and critical materials.  The Apr. 13, 2021 Federal Register notice notes “the need for resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains to ensure U.S. economic prosperity and national security.”  The DoD’s report is due 100 days after Executive Order (“EO”) 14017 “America’s Supply Chains,” signed February 24, 2021, which we comprehensively covered here.

In addition to a desire for general commentary from “both consumers and producers of strategic and critical materials and downstream products containing these materials,” the DoD lists a number of specific topics of interest.  They include, for example:

  • Supply chain transparency;
  • Diversification of supply chain and production sourcing;
  • Promotion of environmental, health and safety, labor, and fair trade in supply chains;
  • Exposure to various risks including price volatility, supply disruption/shocks, and human rights violations and forced labor;
  • Availability of substitutes for strategic and critical materials;
  • Availability of necessary skilled labor;
  • Research, development, and demonstration priorities; and
  • Policy recommendations.

This request for comments also appears to be the first clear opportunity for industry to comment on the DoD’s role under the Trump Administration Sept. 30, 2020 EO 13953.  That EO requires DoD reporting, in conjunction with other agencies, on (1) the threat to the domestic supply chain from reliance on critical minerals from foreign adversaries; and (2) supporting the domestic mining and processing industries.  The Biden Administration’s “America’s Supply Chains” EO 14017 renews focus on this reporting by requiring an update from the DoD along with the DoD’s 100-day report.

Husch Blackwell continues to monitor US government efforts to reduce America’s supply chain risks in both the public and private sectors.  Should you have any questions or require assistance in submitting a comment, please contact a member of Husch Blackwell’s Government Contracts team or Export Controls & Economic Sanctions team.