Bloomberg News

Obama Orders Strategy for Protecting Nation’s Supply Chain

January 26, 2012

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama is directing the Departments of State and Homeland Security to come up with a plan to protect the $14.6 trillion U.S. economy from interruptions in the supply chain.

The White House released a National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security today that gives officials from those departments six months to make recommendations on identifying risks and making commercial infrastructure more resilient.

“We have seen that disruptions to supply chains caused by natural disasters -- earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions -- and from criminal and terrorist networks seeking to exploit the system or use it as a means of attack can adversely impact global economic growth and productivity,” Obama said in a letter dated Jan. 23 and released by the White House today.

“As a nation, we must address the challenges posed by these threats and strengthen our national and international policies accordingly.”

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 threatened or disrupted the U.S. oil and refining industry. The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland led to airline cancellations on almost a global scale. The Japan earthquake and tsunami last year 2011 interrupted imports and exports, hurt the U.S. auto and other industries and was blamed in part for worsening the U.S. unemployment rate.

Terrorist attacks such as those on Sept. 11 or localized disruptions such as recent plots involving air cargo shipments filled with explosives shipped via Europe and the Middle East to the U.S. can escalate rapidly and affect the U.S. or global economy.

Obama directed department officials to confer with state, federal and international government agencies and private industry to identify areas that are most at risk and come up with layered defenses and tightened security steps to guard against disruptions, the strategy says.

--Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Laurie Asseo

To contact the reporters on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net


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