Biden Right to Review Critical Item Supply Chain

Biden Right to Review Critical Item Supply Chain

© David Burton 2021

The Helicopter

     On 24 February 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that is intended, among other benefits, to boost manufacturing jobs by strengthening U.S. supply chains for advanced batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors. It will also strengthen America’s security and avoid crises like the temporary short supply of Corona Virus vaccines.

     “The United States has become increasingly reliant on imports of these goods - a potential national security and economic risk that the Biden administration hopes to address with the planned 100-day review and the possibility of increased domestic production. However, Biden will also look to work with international partners to ensure a stable and reliable supply chain.
     “ ‘These are the kinds of common sense solutions that all Americans can get behind,’ Biden said at a White House ceremony. ‘It's about resilience, identifying possible points of vulnerabilities in our supply chains and making sure we have the backup alternatives or workarounds in place.’
     “White House officials emphasized that the order would help to create manufacturing jobs, a promise made by past presidents with decidedly mixed results. . .
      - - -
     “The orders were also distinctly bipartisan as Biden met with Republican and Democratic lawmakers at the Oval Office Wednesday before the signing. Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order last year to boost U.S. production of critical minerals.
     “ ‘This is a critical area where Republicans and Democrats agreed — it was one of the best meetings I think we've had so far and we've only been here about five weeks,’ Biden said. ‘It was like the old days. People were actually on the same page.’
      - - -
     “{One Republican Senator} said, ‘we’re all in . . . We all understand this is important, not only to our economy, but to our national security, because these cutting edge, high-end semiconductors – they operate on everything from the F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter to our cell phones.’
     “{The} Senate Majority Leader . . .has said the {Senate} chamber should consider emergency spending to rebuild the capacity of the U.S. semiconductor industry, a sign that congressional support could go beyond Biden's executive order.
     “The order also included sectoral reviews to be completed within one year for defense, public health and biological preparedness, information communications technology, energy, transportation and food production.
     “Over the past year, the fragility of vital supply chains has been revealed repeatedly. The coronavirus outbreak led to an initial shortage of masks, gloves and other protective medical equipment. Automakers in the United States and Europe are now dealing with a shortage of computer chips.
      - - -
     “Administration officials have met with automakers and are talking with foreign counterparts on how to boost supplies in the short term. But there is no magic bullet to immediately fixing the lack of semiconductors for automakers, an administration official said.
     “The chip shortage is indicative as to why Biden is trying to be proactive with the reviews, so that they can strengthen the supply chains to prevent additional challenges from emerging. Administration officials say that they plan to partner with industry and members of Congress as part of the effort and that no tool is off the table, including the use of the Defense Production Act.
     “Nearly every major automaker that produces vehicles in the U.S. has cut production because of the shortage by canceling shifts, slowing assembly line speeds or temporarily closing factories. Most automakers have tried to limit the cuts to slower-selling vehicles.
      - - -
     “The U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association says the country’s share of global chip manufacturing capacity has dropped from 37% in 1990 to 12% today. The association wants Washington to fund domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research and pass an investment tax credit to help build and modernize chip factories in the U.S.
     “The wrangling over semiconductors dovetails with China's economic rise as it became a manufacturing center for electronics. Chinese companies began to account for half of global semiconductor consumption in 2012, and demand has grown as China makes 90% of all smartphones, 67% of all smart televisions and 65% of all personal computers . . .” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 1)

     In late 2020, I wrote two articles concerning the very serious problem of lack of control over the supply chain of some of America’s most critical materials – a material supply chain controlled by China, not always a friend to these United States.[2 and 3]

     “Rare earths refer to 17 minerals with magnetic and conductive properties that help power most electronic devices. They are vital to the production of smartphones, tablets and smart speakers.
     “They are not actually ‘rare,’ and can be found in other countries — including the United States. But they're difficult to mine safely.
     “About a third of the world's rare earth deposits are found in China. Yet the country controls more than 90% of production, [Emphasis mine] according to the US Geological Survey, in part due to its lower labor costs and less stringent environmental regulations.
     “In addition to their use in electronics, rare earths are vital to many of the major weapons systems that the United States relies on for national security. [Emphasis mine]
     “That includes lasers, radar, sonar, night vision systems, missile guidance, jet engines and alloys for armored vehicles . . .
    - - -
     “It’s essential that America takes action to end China’s monopoly on these critical elements that are necessary for everything from smartphones to critical weapon systems such as the F-35, along with just about everything Pentagon officials have called the weapons of the future.” (Ref. 3)

     “While the US lists rare earths as critical materials, we have essentially done nothing to secure its supply. China still controls the vast majority of the global rare earth industry and hence controls the supply chain critical to producing high tech electronics, especially those using magnets.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 2)

     President Biden has acted swiftly and correctly in addressing a major problem confronting our nation. Hats off to our new Commander in Chief for doing so.

  1. Biden Orders a Review of US Supply Chains for Vital Goods, Josh Boak and Tom Krisher,,
    24 February 2021.
  2. America’s Security is Threatened, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu: Article 445, 6 November 2020.
  3. America’s Rare Earth Problem, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu: Article 435, 11 September 2020.


  1 April 2021 {Article 467; Govt_88}    
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