Feb. 24 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday calling for a 100-day review of supply chains across federal agencies in the wake of shortages of essential goods ranging from medical equipment to computer chips.
The White House said the review will address vulnerabilities in supply chains for pharmaceutical products, critical minerals, semiconductors and large-capacity batteries.
"While we cannot predict what crisis will hit us, we should have the capacity to respond quickly in the face of challenges," the White House said in a statement. "[We] must ensure that production shortages, trade disruptions, natural disasters and potential actions by foreign competitors and adversaries never leave the United States vulnerable again."
In remarks following the signing, Biden pointed to last year's shortages of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
"We heard horror stories of doctors and nurses wearing trash bags ... so they wouldn't be in trouble, because they had no gowns. And they were rewashing and reusing their masks over and over again in the" operating room, he said.
He also addressed more recent shortages of semiconductor chips in the automotive industry, saying he would push for a $37 billion bill to ensure short-term capacity, while also reaching out to U.S. allies, semiconductor companies and others in the supply chain to boost production and resolve bottlenecks.
"We need to stop playing catch up after the supply-chain crisis hit. We need to prevent the supply chain crisis from hitting in the first place," he said.
The review will also identify ways to secure U.S. supply chains and facilitate investments, the administration said.
Along with the initial 100-day review targeted at four key products, the executive order calls for a broad review of U.S. supply chains to take place over a year. Industries of focus include defense, public health, information, energy, transportation and agriculture.
The executive action calls on federal agencies to review a variety of risks to supply chains and make specific policy recommendations to address risks and proposals for research and development. It also calls for the establishment of a quadrennial review process to address supply chain resiliency and directs the government to partner with stakeholders including those in industry, academia and local leadership.
"In some cases, building resilience will mean increasing our production of certain types of elements here at home. In others, it'll mean working more closely with our trusted friends and partners, nations that share our values, so that our supply chains can't be used against us as leverage," said Biden.