Technology News
Published September 16, 2020

A National Manufacturing Guard: Building a More Resilient U.S. Manufacturing Base

In response to the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on US manufacturing, including the challenges uncovered related to the security and responsiveness of manufacturing supply chains in our country, the CEOs of all 15 Manufacturing USA Institutes have created a decisive set of strategies and recommendations, including calling for the creation of a National Manufacturing Guard. The Resilient Manufacturing Task Force Act, introduced in July by US Senators Coons and Rubio and US Representatives Stevens and Balderson, similarly addresses these challenges and seeks to “reinforce the US Supply Chain against future disruptions”.

COVID-19 Response & Recovery

Under the Institutes’ leadership, preeminent manufacturers in critical medical, food and consumer goods supply chains are contributing with leading technology providers and national political leaders on these efforts. Their input helped shape the creation of four specific initiatives that will enable us to learn from the recent past and ensure we’re aggressively working towards a much more resilient supply chain and manufacturing base in the future.

  1. The formation of a National Manufacturing Guard: Agile realignment of supply chains, particularly in a crisis, is not an easy task. Readiness planning and training for this eventuality can make an enormous difference. We make the analogy to the National Guard’s readiness to defend our country to propose a national Manufacturing Guard. This group would be comprised of leading corporate experts in manufacturing and production, and they would train annually for agile and effective response during a crisis to mitigate scenarios that threaten supply chains and impede immediate availability and access to necessary products across the country. The participants will be our nation’s experts in resilient supply chains, and they will be poised to help our nation deploy the material and human resources it needs when faced with a crisis.

  2. The establishment of a National Supply Chain Data Exchange: The Supply Chain Data Exchange infrastructure would enable a secure, end-to-end data backbone for real time visibility and the mitigation tools necessary to support the resilient production of critical products needed during supply chain disruptions. Supporting the Manufacturing Guard in their mission to ensure the reliable access to critical supplies, this initiative will accelerate the creation of U.S. common infrastructure, solutions, data models, data engineering and integration required to ensure that U.S. small, mid-size and large multinational companies are strongly equipped to offer resilient, proactive and digitally transparent supply chains. The exchange optimizes the usage of critical resources as a universal open platform enabling secure, standardized, end-to-end exchange and visibility of shareable supply chain intelligence and real time data with desired partners, including: inventory and location, safety stock, emergency impact to companies/locations; identification of bottlenecks in resource flow; and, proactive testing of resiliency and weaknesses. The Supply Chain Data Exchange will also serve as a platform to understand and map critical gaps in U.S. manufacturing capabilities and infrastructure, identify critical feed stock limitations across various sectors, and to improve existing or design new manufacturing networks that afford greater domestic control over strategically important supply chains.

  3. The formation of a Technology Corps: The Technology Corps will ensure Americans can be rapidly educated on emerging advanced manufacturing technologies. The Technology Corps will establish a workforce pipeline to respond to national security needs and will be a pipeline into the national Manufacturing Guard, providing individuals who will have worked with industry leaders and understand the importance of keeping our manufacturing capabilities up to date and safe. The Technology Corps will accelerate opportunities for the 33 million Americans between the ages of 18-24 with a 21st century skills gateway to enable transitions to higher education, military service, national service, or entry into the workforce. It will also provide opportunities to learn and work at defense and other government agencies expand the use of apprenticeships to high-tech and high-skill fields.

  4. A Resilient Manufacturing Advisory Council: A Resilient Manufacturing Task Force is required to convene and develop a plan to create the national Manufacturing Guard, the Supply Chain Data Exchange, and the Technology Corps. The Task Force will also be able to begin mapping critical gaps in the supply chains across sectors and identify opportunities to refine current, and design new, technologies for an optimized system design. The Task Force, comprised of leading experts in supply chain and manufacturing technologies representing various stakeholder groups including the Manufacturing USA institutes and their members, will frame and prioritize key issues around policy, operations, oversight, and incentives for participation in the Manufacturing Guard, Supply Chain Data Exchange, and Technology Corps. The Task Force will issue recommendations and discuss the need for a Resilient Manufacturing Advisory Council to help oversee and coordinate these activities moving forward to ensure a more resilient and flexible manufacturing infrastructure for the nation.


As we recover from the current crisis, and prepare for the possibility of the next, it is well past time to think about our security and competitiveness as linked to our manufacturing, supply chain, and workforce capabilities. Through the formation of the National Manufacturing Guard, we will strive to meet the following objectives:

  • Resilient, agile, secure manufacturing base

  • Enhanced economic security

  • A national network of prepared manufacturing industry experts across sectors ready to react when needed

  • A partnership that brings industry’s capabilities to address national needs

  • A secure supply chain powered by real-time supply/demand signals

  • Visibility into supply chain gaps at the national level during crises

  • Career pathways to high-value jobs and national service opportunities

  • Opportunities for individuals from underserved communities to gain advanced manufacturing skills