security dashboard (KanawatVector/Shutterstock.com)

Commerce's plan to get ahead of supply chain issues

As a result of the “significant” damage suffered from the SolarWinds attack, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stressed the need for government agencies to move to intelligence-based cybersecurity and focus more on technology supply chains.

Speaking to a House Appropriations subcommittee on May 6, Raimondo described a new department office will be tasked with addressing vulnerabilities in essential products, stemming from the administration's efforts to secure critical supply chains.

"The office is intended to help us deal with the challenges that we're seeing in our supply chains," she said. "I think we all realized during COVID how vulnerable some of our supply chains are."

The new office will focus on monitoring vulnerabilities across supply chains while creating an investment arm that would allow the department to partner with the private sector "to address vulnerabilities" and "get ahead of supply chain resiliency issues," the secretary said.

President Joe Biden requested $11.4 billion for the Commerce Department's fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget, a 27% increase from the year prior, while aiming to make critical investments in response to numerous crises, in addition to maintaining the department's existing programs. Lawmakers are still waiting on a detailed budget proposal from the administration.

The president signed an executive order in February directing federal agencies to identify vulnerabilities in supply chains and submit 100-day reviews which identify various steps the administration can take alongside lawmakers to protect essential systems.

The executive order also directed the Commerce secretary and secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report on supply chains for critical sectors and subsectors of the ICT industrial base within 100 days.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Chris Riotta is a staff writer at FCW covering government procurement and technology policy. Chris joined FCW after covering U.S. politics for three years at The Independent. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president.

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