Opinion / Politics

Another Critical Supply Chain America Must Bring Home

chinaIn recent weeks Americans have been aghast and disgusted to see the dangerous extent to which we rely on China for the personal protective equipment so vital to healthcare workers.

Compounding this, we are also dependent on China for other critical medical supplies, including pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, medical items are not the only life-threatening supply chain vulnerability we have.

The United States electric system has become increasingly dependent on foreign suppliers for essential items, including software components that can easily be cyberattacked. When the hardware or software of the electric grid malfunctions or is attacked, there are power outages and often related chaos.

The good news is that the United States has taken clear and compelling steps to address these security vulnerabilities, though years of follow through are also necessary.

On May 1, President Trump signed an executive order to protect the bulk-power system. This is the critical energy infrastructure that supports national defense, emergency services, critical infrastructure and the economy, those things which ensure the quality of modern life.

Even though the bulk-power system is integral to our well-being, large components of it, including control systems, transformers, and generators, are increasingly being manufactured overseas.

Especially disturbing is that 200 transformers, a pillar of the power grid, have come from China into the United States in the last 10 years, according to Charles Durant, deputy director of counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy. Before then, none had entered the U.S.

The executive order says, “The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities, because a successful attack on our bulk-power system present significant risks to our economy, human health and safety.”

Moody’s, the credit rating agency, endorsed the executive order in a May 6 report saying it is “a credit positive for US electric utilities because it addresses some of the cybersecurity risks that relate to the supply chain. The executive order also raises corporate governance priorities around cybersecurity defenses and promotes needed investments in cybersecurity preparedness.”

The crux of the order is to require a rigorous review of suppliers and the development of a pre-qualified vendor list. In addition, now prohibited equipment already in use is to be identified, isolated, monitored and, if necessary, replaced.

This will also provide a stimulus for the U.S. economy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States spends $144 billion annually on electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. This may rise significantly. Much of the power grid, including plants and transmission lines, is decades older and in need of modernization.

There are also significant opportunities to sell power grid items abroad.

Today there is an aggressive push to make the grid smarter, using software and technology to handle functions like equipment monitoring so that components can be replaced before they break. Many consumers also want to adjust their electricity use remotely.

These and other factors show the need for infrastructure investments while significantly reducing the likelihood that the software will be hacked by an adversary or embedded for future mischief.

The Executive Order, though, is a beginning and not an end in protecting America’s electric grid. Rules are to be issued in September.

The administrative and political follow-through will remain important for years ahead and should be supported across the political spectrum.

Reprinted with Permission from - Inside Source by - Paul Steidler

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1 year ago

I am planning not to buy goods from China…I will read my labels more carefully and if it is made in china i will look for another brand made in USA…Why wait for our government to take action when we can take action on the local level. My hope is that we bring mfg. back and yes I’m willing pay more or do without some of the junk I don’t need to begin with,,,I just read another letter on how the fish coming from china is fed a steady diet of chicken poop…..We need to get our pharma back pronto……We the people can do little things to help Americas livelihood…They have not shown us respect ever! They do not keep their word so we will not use their goods. Thank God we have a President who puts America first. It will take time but WE CAN DO!

1 year ago

Greed of US business owners to make bigger profits at the expense of American jobs. We as a nation are to blame. Globalism is just another word for Americans losing good paying jobs. Uncontrolled illegal immigration keeps american wages down because they work for less. So you have cheap labor in China and cheap labor from immigrants no wonder real wages have not increased for years. If the dems love immigration and China, they can’t be for the american worker.

1 year ago

We have given the firearms to be used against us to foreign countries such as China for decades, and we are now reaping the “rewards.” China is NOT our friend. It is a Communist country, ruled by the Communist Party. We must get back to being self-sufficient or we are doomed to continue to be serfs who will be exploited by the Chinese.

Don Winans
1 year ago

It’s about time America wakes up.

1 year ago

So why was my post deleted? no links allowed?
Buy American, it is the only way out of this mess is if we support companies making it here
You can find plenty of sites to purchase from:
Diamond Gusset Jeans
Roundhouse Jeans
Yoder Smokers
Americansworking dot com
madeinamerica dot co
usalovelist dot com

just to name a few
hope this post stays up

1 year ago

Nixon and Kissinger started this mess 30 years to enrich their corporate cronies, thank God President Trump is in the White House facilitating the most important promise, America first ??????

Phyllis Poole
1 year ago

If there was a yummy chocolate bar on a table but you knew it was a rattle snake would you take a chance to take it ?

Phyllis Poole
1 year ago

Should we all use solar which is dependant on weather! But could help supply much and can now be stored Give us more info on this but PLEASE DO NOT DEPEND ON CHINA FOR ANYTHING!!
They’re coming out with a new fold up phone. BOYCOTT CHINA!!!!

1 year ago

For many years I have gone online to find products made, most, anywhere but china. I do this because in local stores it is so difficult to find something NOT made in China.

Deborah Wolff
1 year ago

I am a AMAC member

1 year ago

Down with Wal -Mart.

Lincoln Sorensen
1 year ago

The comments are all revealing, interesting and spot on, but only a couple branch out to include other areas where we the people have been asleep at the wheel. What is the connection between private manufacturing companies and our elected employees? How is it that the companies are able to get their desires to be acted on in getting laws passed that are favorable to them? LOBBYISTS!!!! That’s who and how! Why do we the people allow lobbyists to have access to our elected employees? We all know that whenever and wherever there is quid pro Quo , the result favored is not good for the masses, but is only for the special interests offering the bribe. We have looked the other way for so long that the parties know they can pass any laws that benefit themselves and special interests without any query for we the people. Even when a group makes public the waste and corruption, we the people just keep our eyes averted and keep plugging along and leave it up to someone else to react. Problem is, no one reacts. We need to react to lobbying and corruption in D C like the crowds are now protesting the death of the man in Minnesota has been reacted to. We need to march on D C and demand the roll back of the perks our elected employees have voted themselves over the years and the lobbyists making them rich. We also need to eliminate all government pensions as well as the pensions of all private companies like the auto workers union has demanded for their members. Why are new automobiles costing more than a single residence cost as recently as back in the 70’s and 80’s. The auto workers pensions are as much a part of the initial cost of a new vehicle as the parts and labor. There is no longer a need for pensions since the advent of other retirement options for an individual worker. The pensions must be phased out and new employees as well as current employees brought into the new retirement programs. At present we have states and local government pensions sucking up every tax dollar just to stay solvent. So, back to the subject of this article, there are so many other products that our military needs for our weapons that are available only through foreign manufacturers that are a risk to our national defense. Yes, it is way past time for we the people to wake up and react.

1 year ago

All these important items were made in the USA years ago, the politicians have become GREEDY AND SOLD OUR COUNTRY DOWN THE ROAD TO MAKE THEM RICH. Now we have a president that has opened our eyes to how corrupt washington is…. WAKE UP AMERICA GET BEHIND PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKE AMERIOCA GREAT AGAIN… TRUMP 2020

1 year ago

So we started buying transformers from China 10 years ago. Right after Obama took office, I wonder who enjoyed monetary gain from that idiotic decision, buying critical and strategic parts from a country that wants to destroy and conquer us. Obama was not kidding when he said he wanted to change America. Buying those critical and strategic parts from China instead of US manufactures could and would change America. It never made sense to me but I’m just an uneducated deplorable that doesn’t know what makes common sense.

Susan Perry
1 year ago

Just can’t believe how stupid America has become regarding our enemies over the last number of decades. The one job our government has is to protect it’s citizens and it can’t even do that. What a failure our government has turned into under both Republican and Democrat leadership! Someone needs to show some tough love to our enemies within and without to right the ship! Stop playing games.

1 year ago

It is not only possible but probable. The technology has been around for decades.
Back in late 70s there were some that thought it was fun and games to mess with my PC while I was off. The boot disk and FAT can be a good place to write traps, which appear to be random.

Danny Estridge
1 year ago

Ya know, I kinda fought for this country for 20 years, now I have a voice. What the hell are we doing? Relying on other people/country’s for us to get by? That means I wasted 20 years of my life to protect and defend people that sold us out? I didn’t have a choice, I would have to die for this country if needed, trust me I didn’t want to do that, but to protect us I would have, even if it meant 1 more spot at Arlington. And you guys in charge let everything go for the sake of money. Putting it mildly, you guys suck. While I was defending you were selling us to the lowest bidder.
I wouldn’t go into the military now, why bother, you’ll sell us to the lowest bidder. I lost so much money because others could get so rich, if I was cut throat, I’d have cut your throat a tad back. You can’t replace the 20 years I lost and I doubt your losing any sleep over it either. Just as long as you keep getting richer regardless of the cost to everybody else.
Everybody wants to talk about treason for certain people, what about treason for company’s that outsource everything to China or other country’s?
They’re more guilty than anybody I know, but yet I don’t hear anything about that, other than the big companies are losing money now because of everything happening. Well whoop tee doo, everybody is losing money right now, I don’t need to hear how bad big companies have it. Yet they’re the first in line for loans and stuff. Why not just bypass the big companies and send money directly to China, amongst others.
Yet everybody expects the military to fight our “wars”, why not draft all the CEO’s into the military and let them fight the wars, they’ve been living off of slave labor so long without paying what’s right for people, be it people in China or any other place else, including us(THE USA).
Think it’s time for big business to pay their fair share because they led us into this pile of BS. I have no mercy for big business, not for their worker’s though, they’re just like me, trying to get by, but for their bosses, no mercy and no quarter. They dug our graves for more money for them.
And no, I’m not a commie, just a person who believes in fairness for all and not selling MY COUNTRY to the lowest bidder.

1 year ago
Reply to  Danny Estridge

Hi Danny, just to help a few Veterans out there. I have worked for various companies the past 40 years that make Defense products. (mainly aircraft parts). One of the laws is the Berry Amendment. This is a law first used in 1941 (I hope people know why 1941 is important). The Berry Amendment did not become permanent until 2007 when President Bush signed it as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007. The Berry Amendment part of that Act requires any Special Metal (steel, aluminium, titanium, etc) to be procured (including mined) from sources friendly to the U.S. The countries on the list are NATO countries.
China is not on the list.

1 year ago

I wish it was only the PPE and the electric power grid. Which are really important issues. A very long time ago (10-15 years ago), I made up this joke. It was not funny then and is less funny now. Question: “If you stand a billion people from every country in a long line, how do you pick out the Americans?” Answer: the Americans are the ones shooting themselves in the foot.” We have been being stupid a long time. When I attended a major university 50 years ago, I had Chinese students in my classes and had one as a roommate. The university made a lot of money off those students. The Chinese knew where the best schools were and who the competition would be. Thank God we have someone in the Oval Office who gets it. Finally. It turns out that the coronavirus may be a blessing in disguise: we see what we need to do and the size of the problem. We have been taken advantage of for a very long time. We all now get it. Well most of us. Not the Demorats/Socialists. Oh there is no such thing as a Democratic Socialists. They put “Democratic” in front to fool people. Do not be fooled!

1 year ago

In November, 1940, ads ran in the U.S. to send guns to England because they were critically short of arms, and most of Europe was under control of the Nazis. Today, we face a similar problem, where we depend on critical supplies to be made by countries who don’t like us, and see us as a cash cow to be milked. England stood alone against Hitler, now we need to stand UP against China. MADE IN U.S.A.!

1 year ago

We need to stop the corporations who need to pay the shareholders huge profit dividends at the expense of the workers. The main reason we have relied on getting products from outside the USA has been the cost of making the product in the USA because labor is paid higher wages (if you call the minimum wage a high wage). Workers in foreign places like China make a small fraction of the wage that American workers get plus they don’t have any worker protections (big savings for the companies) Think about it and stop buying cheap, buy American made.

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