ACQUISITION LEADERS AGREE THAT SUPPLY CHAINS WILL CHANGE TO ADD DOMESTIC CAPABILITIES
While contractors can’t exactly “forget” secure supply chains, they shouldn’t just be focused on that one issue. Enhancing or creating domestic production capacity and creating additional preferences for such products in federal acquisition is fast-becoming a national, and perhaps political, priority. Both senior acquisition officials, and their bosses, have expressed concern on the US market’s reliance on foreign-made product in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortages of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and even specialty metals needed for critical technology systems have all woken up federal logistics and national security officials on the need to create or enhance domestic production in these and other critical areas. Contractors can expect the next Congress to pass legislation that could either encourage or mandate increased domestic content in provided solutions. In addition, laws or rules that require companies to share more information on their supply chain capabilities may also be implemented. This may all be more expensive for both contractors and the government, but the current thinking is that the cost is worth it if the net result is increased US security, whether it be on the technology, healthcare, economic, or some other front. This issue has already attracted some attention, but will likely move closer to center stage in the coming months. Contractors need to watch these developments closely and be prepared to adapt accordingly.