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ICT Supply Chain Assessment Fact Sheet


The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry serves an important role to our economic and national security, producing the technologies relied on by individuals, industries, and governments to connect, innovate, and protect our society. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and related disruptions have exposed structural vulnerabilities in both domestic and global supply chains that have reduced the availability of critical ICT products and the resiliency of the ICT industry as a whole. In response to these and supply chain disruptions in other key industries, on February 24, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order (E.O. 14017) on America's Supply Chains, which aims to build resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains supporting six critical industries to ensure U.S. economic prosperity and national security.  E.O. 14017 directs the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security to conduct a one-year assessment on the supply chains for critical sectors and subsectors of the U.S. ICT industrial base, as determined by the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security.  Pursuant to E.O. 14017, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security prepared an assessment of the supply chains supporting communications hardware, computing and data storage hardware, end-user devices, and critical software including open-source software and firmware.

The assessment of the current ICT supply chains conditions revealed several risks that threaten to disrupt the broader ICT industry. These risks, including a lack of domestic production capacity for many product categories, overreliance on single-source and region suppliers, limited use of robust cybersecurity practices, and underinvestment in the domestic workforce threaten to continue to disrupt the ICT industry and the broader economy if left unaddressed.

Promoting a more secure and resilient ICT supply chain will require significant effort from the government as well as industry stakeholders to implement the long-term strategy detailed in the assessment. To supplement this comprehensive approach, the U.S. Department of Commerce is taking the following immediate actions:

Revitalizing the U.S. ICT Manufacturing Base

To address the current dependency on a single region, nation, or manufacturer to produce U.S. ICT goods, efforts must be made to revitalize the domestic manufacturing ecosystem. The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with industry stakeholders, is committed to investing in U.S. manufacturing capabilities to strengthen the domestic ICT ecosystem and build resilience throughout the U.S. ICT supply chains.

  • Office of Manufacturing Security and Resiliency: The Department of Commerce worked with the House to secure passage of the The America COMPETES Act, which authorizes Commerce to monitor and map gaps in domestic supply chains and make investments to rebuild essential capacity, including in the ICT sector. Commerce worked with the Senate to pass United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which authorizes a similar program, and will support Congressional efforts to send a final program to the President’s desk.
  • Build Back Better Region Challenge Investments: Through the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is actively investing in communities and regions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to foster economic growth and manufacturing capacity. On December 13, 2021 EDA announced the 60 Phase 1 finalists – each a coalition of partnering entities – that proposed projects that will develop or scale regional industry sectors, develop and train the workforce of today, and build resilient economies.  Each finalist was awarded approximately $500,000 to further develop their proposed projects. Of these finalists, 14 are focused on ICT workforce development and advanced manufacturing, and will compete for an additional $25-$100 million of funding in Phase 2 of the BBBRC program.
  • SelectUSA Investment Summit: Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will host the 2022 SelectUSA Investment Summit on June 26-29 to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States. Over 3,000 attendees including potential foreign investors, state, local and regional economic development organizations, and service providers convene to participate in sessions, network, and generate FDI opportunities.  Administration priorities are reflected throughout the investment summit agenda and will include ICT supply chain resiliency.
  • Investments in Manufacturing Ecosystem: Soon, the Department of Commerce will announce the recipients of the 2021 Rapid Assistance for Coronavirus Economic Response (RACER) grants. The RACER program will make approximately $60 million available to high-impact projects designed to build domestic resilience and advance long-term competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.

Building Resilience through Secure and Transparent Supply Chains

The U.S. ICT industry relies on globalized and complex supply chains which complicates industry’s ability to elucidate all suppliers and ensure product integrity and security throughout the supply chain. The lack of supply chain transparency and security assurance presents several risks such as the insertion of counterfeit or used parts into critical hardware components or the injection of malicious software code. While the private sector must take the lead on building more transparency and security into their supply chains, the Department of Commerce will promote such practices through the following solutions.

  • Update to Cybersecurity Framework: This week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a Request for Information (RFI) for stakeholder input on updating the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, including on how to better integrate best practices on supply chain security. The voluntary Cybersecurity Framework provides private firms with best practices to manage cyber risk. A publicly available resource developed through an open, transparent, and inclusive effort with stakeholders, it has significantly improved cybersecurity awareness, served as the foundation for international standards, and promoted new markets for cybersecurity tools and technologies. The RFI will help NIST ensure that the Framework and other NIST cybersecurity resources are keeping pace with evolving technology and threat trends and help institutionalize the use of best practices in cybersecurity. The RFI also asks for input on identifying and prioritizing supply chain-related cybersecurity needs across sectors, including how they can be aligned with the Framework. This input will support the new National Initiative for Improving Cybersecurity in Supply Chains announced by Secretary Raimondo at the White House Cybersecurity Summit on August 25, 2021.
  • Support for Secure Software: On February 3, NIST released an updated Secure Software Development Framework that identifies practices that can help organizations enhance their software supply chain including reference to standards, procedures, and criteria. The framework is a key deliverable required by the President’s Executive Order (EO) 14028, Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. Following these practices should will help software producers reduce the number of vulnerabilities in released software, mitigate the potential impact of the exploitation of undetected or unaddressed vulnerabilities, and address the root causes of vulnerabilities to prevent future recurrences. Because the framework provides a common vocabulary for secure software development, software purchasers and consumers can also use it to foster communications with suppliers in acquisition processes and other management activities.
  • Addressing Risks in the Semiconductor Supply Chain: On January 25, the Department of Commerce released the results from the Risks in the Semiconductor Supply Chain Request for Information (RFI) issued in September 2021. Results from the RFI, which aimed to improve transparency into the supply chain and identify bottlenecks, provided data-driven information about the depths of the semiconductor shortage. The Department of Commerce continues to strongly advocate for the President’s proposed $52 billion in chips funding through the CHIPS for America Act to be signed into law.
  • Diversity in the Wireless Supply Chain: The U.S. Government recognizes that many network operators face limited options when selecting vendors to develop and deploy 5G and earlier generation wireless networks. Limited competition in the telecommunications infrastructure market can reduce supply chain resilience and contribute to higher prices for operators and consumers in the long run.  The Department of Commerces calls on Congress to appropriate the NTIA-managed Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund.  This will accelerate progress in supporting industry and U.S. Government goals in increasing the diversity of suppliers in 5G and beyond networks including through approaches like Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN). 

Collaborating with International Partners to Improve Supply Chain Resiliency

The globalized nature of the ICT supply chain necessitates that solutions to enhance supply chain resilience, must include collaboration with U.S. allied and partner nations. Through international engagements, the United States can work to diversify the ICT manufacturing base, develop standards that enhance security, and strengthen trade mechanisms to counter unfair practices. 

  • Ministerial-Level International Summit: Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and will hold a follow-on ministerial-level convening of international partners, members of the private sector, and other stakeholders to discuss next steps in securing global supply chain resilience in October 2022. This will be a follow up to the October 31, 2021 Summit held by President Biden.
  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: As part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework announced by President Biden in November, the Department of Commerce is working with East Asian allies and partners to diversify supply chains and address single source choke points.

Developing and Upskilling the ICT Workforce

Underinvestment in the domestic ICT workforce and in domestic STEM education threatens the industry’s ability to find to fulfill increased demand for key ICT products, impacting implementation of federal and state broadband programs as well as measures to increase manufacturing in the United States. To address this shortage, the Secretary of Commerce has taken the following actions to advance solutions focused on developing and upskilling the ICT workforce.

  • Investing in American Workers: Through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Good Jobs Challenge, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is helping get Americans back to work by developing and strengthening regional systems to develop and execute industry-led partnerships, which may include the ICT industry, that will lead to good-paying jobs. EDA is allocating $500 million to collaborative skills training systems and programs. EDA encourages efforts to reach historically underserved populations and areas, communities of color, women, and other groups facing labor market barriers. These systems and partnerships will create and implement industry-led training programs, designed to provide skills for and connect unemployed or underemployed workers to existing and emerging job opportunities.
  • Promoting Science and Technology: In January, EDA announced investments totaling over $1.4 million to six STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Talent Challenge projects that will implement workforce development initiatives in ICT-related sectors.
  • Developing the Broadband Workforce: The Department of Commerce will support broadband workforce investments by encouraging states to develop and fund programs through their allocation of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program funded in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Ensure that Climate Concerns Remain a Cornerstone of ICT Development

As we seek to strengthen the U.S. ICT industrial base, the Department of Commerce will continue to leverage its resources to connect decision makers in the ICT industry and throughout the country with the information needed to mitigate climate risks and become more resilient.  

  • Improving Climate Data: On December 9, 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released an innovative mapping tool that provides county-level information on natural disaster hazards across the United States. This tool advances our efforts to expand and improve climate data for decision makers, including in the information and communications technology sector, in support of the White House report on climate data that was released on October 12, 2021.

Engage with Industry Stakeholders to Improve Resiliency in the Supply Chain

As the primary stakeholder in the ICT industry, U.S. companies lie at the center of this strategy to improve resiliency in the ICT supply chains. The Secretary of Commerce is dedicated to engaging with the private sector and developing partnerships to share information, address needs, and mitigate risks.  

  • Regional Supply Chain Summit: In the coming months, Deputy Secretary Donald Graves will host a regional supply chain summit bringing together public leaders, large and small businesses, educational institutions, workforce organizations, and civil society stakeholders to enhance collaboration, generate new ideas, and celebrate efforts being made to strengthen the resilience of the semiconductor supply chain. This summit will highlight the positive impact that recent investments in the semiconductor industry have had, not just on the ICT industrial base, but on the economically and socially disadvantaged communities that support this industry.
  • Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness: On January 20, the Department of Commerce launched a reconstituted federal advisory committee within the International Trade Administration called the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC). The committee’s membership consists of senior executives from the private sector, labor, academia, and industry associations including from the ICT sector.  The committee will create subcommittees to serve as working groups to cover key topics, including: freight movement and the transition to 24/7 operations, data and innovation, and domestic manufacturing.

Read the Assessment of the Critical Supply Chains Supporting the U.S. Information and Communications Technology Industry here.