Supply Chain Management


A supply chain is the network of organizations—be they military, government, or private sector—involved in creating and delivering a product or service to a customer or consumer. RAND research on the management of supply chains has focused on both the efficiency and the security of civilian and military supply chains, with reports covering freight modernization, rail capacity and security, fuel taxes, and container inspection at ports.

  • Essay

    The Time to Prevent Shortfalls in Critical Materials Is Now

    China's domination of the rare earth market is a matter of economic and national security concern. Existing plans to diversify the market and help the United States break its reliance on China likely don't go far enough or fast enough, and the clock is running.

    Mar 20, 2023

  • Report

    What Taiwan's Dominance in Semiconductor Production Means for the U.S.

    Semiconductors have become an integral part of nearly every industry. Production of the highest-end semiconductors exists almost entirely in Taiwan. If China were to unify with Taiwan, there are no good short-term options for responding to the disruption that would cause to the global semiconductor supply chain.

    Mar 13, 2023

Explore Supply Chain Management

  • Sacks of lithium carbonate at Albemarle Lithium production facility in Silver Peak, Nevada, October 6, 2022, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters


    Do Car Companies Know Where Their Critical Minerals Come From?

    The initial slate of electric vehicles qualifying for a new federal tax credit was announced in April. Key to eligibility is the source of critical minerals used in their batteries. While the list of acceptable nations of origin is still being worked out, there's an important practical question the IRS should ask: Do carmakers really know where their critical minerals come from?

    Apr 28, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Violence in Sudan, Alcohol Use, North Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the violence in Sudan, preventing alcohol-related deaths, the North Korean nuclear threat, and more.

    Apr 28, 2023

  • Nickel-rich drill cores in Tamarack, Minnesota, November 22, 2021, photo by Mike Hughlett/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/ABACA via Reuters Connect


    Militaries, Metals, and Mining

    Securing access to supply, increasing global and domestic capacity, and diversifying supply chains for critical minerals should be at the top of the agenda for both nations and private industry. Failure could jeopardize climate mitigation strategies and U.S. military readiness.

    Apr 18, 2023

  • Plant engineer Hannah Nelson gives a tour at Air Liquide's North Las Vegas hydrogen production facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 24, 2022, photo by Bridget Bennett/Reuters


    Can China's Green Energy Acceleration Put at Risk the West's Hydrogen Plans?

    Hydrogen (H2) plays a key role in the decarbonization plans of the European Union and the United States. Both have launched aggressive hydrogen strategies to increase the generation of H2 and deployment of related technologies. But these bold ambitions may face headwinds due to the acceleration of China's energy transition.

    Apr 3, 2023

  • The Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the transfer station of the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link in Lubmin, Germany, August 30, 2022, photo by Lisi Niesner/Reuters


    Will Logistics Be Russia's Undoing in Ukraine?

    Russia's experience in Ukraine one year in is an example of what happens when a nation tries to fight a war without fully considering the logistics and sustainment that go alongside such a fight. The consequences for failing to fully consider these concepts drove Russia into a prolonged conflict for which it was already ill-prepared a year ago, with increasingly dire consequences for its future.

    Feb 10, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    The War in Ukraine, Software Supply Chain Risk, 'Hacking Equity': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on lessons about defense strategy from the war in Ukraine, U.S.-France cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, software supply chain risk, and more.

    Feb 3, 2023

  • Screen showing computer code with malicious code logged error, photo by solarseven/Getty Images


    Software Supply Chain Risk Is Growing, but Mitigation Solutions Exist

    Software supply chain security has emerged as a leading risk because of the massively fragmented and decentralized nature of modern software development. While we still have much to learn as a community about this risk, there are concrete steps we can take to better understand and mitigate it.

    Jan 26, 2023

  • Report


    Common Authorized Stockage Lists for the U.S. Army's Brigade Combat Teams

    Mathematical optimization of a common, periodically updated authorized stockage list for each of the U.S. Army's three types of ground brigade combat teams provides improved performance in support of equipment readiness and reduced transition costs.

    Jan 19, 2023

  • A soldier's hands on a battery, photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah M. McClanahan/U.S. Air Force


    Critical Material Supply Chains Should Be More Resilient

    The COVID-19 pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine highlight the vulnerabilities of supply chains that are dependent on foreign inputs. How can the U.S. Department of Defense increase the resilience of its supply chains for materials essential to national security?

    Dec 15, 2022

  • The deep sea mining vessel Hidden Gem returns to port after test mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, in Manzanillo, Mexico, November 16, 2022, photo by Gustavo Graf Maldonado/Reuters


    Is Seabed Mining an Opportunity to Break China's Stranglehold on Critical Minerals Supply Chains?

    China dominates global supply chains for nearly all critical mineral resources, including the rare earths that power decarbonization technologies. Seabed mining may be a way to diversify critical minerals supply chains and break China's stranglehold on supplies of some of the world's most important natural resources.

    Nov 21, 2022

  • Mining facilities at the MP Materials rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, January 30, 2020, photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters


    Emerging Domestic Battery Supply Chain Should Be Wary of China's Information Ops

    China has a huge stake in producing lithium-ion batteries, and is not above waging disinformation campaigns against U.S. firms involved in the battery supply chain. Extraction sector companies could work with cybersecurity experts and the U.S. intelligence community to educate their executives and local governments about any foreign disinformation risks.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • The MP Materials rare earth open-pit mine in Mountain Pass, California, January 30, 2020, photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters


    Enhance U.S. Rare Earth Security Through International Cooperation

    Most rare earth elements and materials are sourced from overseas but China dominates extraction and processing. With closer multinational cooperation, the United States and its allies and partners could reduce vulnerabilities due to the dependency on China.

    Nov 3, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the groundbreaking of the new Intel semiconductor manufacturing facility in New Albany, Ohio, September 9, 2022, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters


    The CHIPS Act Alone Won't Secure U.S. Semiconductor Supply Chains

    The implementation of the CHIPS Act shows promise for revitalizing the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing industry via investments in research and development, workforce development, and incentive programs. But executing on these ambitions could take some time and may not resolve all semiconductor supply chain risks.

    Oct 12, 2022

  • Microchips on a production line, photo by venuestock/Getty Images


    The U.S. Has a Microchip Problem. Safeguarding Taiwan Is the Solution

    Taiwan manufactures about 92 percent of the world's advanced microchips, which are used in almost all electronics, from cars to coffeemakers to combine harvesters. A Chinese attack on the island would imperil the world's supply of microchips. Here's how to offset that threat.

    Oct 3, 2022

  • Report


    Rapidly Detecting and Correcting Degradation of Military Supply Distribution Performance: Algorithms, Visualizations, and Case Studies

    This report presents algorithms that monitor the U.S. Army logistics distribution system and automatically detect distribution issues that might affect equipment readiness. The report also offers recommendations for improved distribution monitoring.

    Sep 20, 2022

  • U.S. military logisticians and transporters offloading equipment at the port in Gdansk, Poland, July 8, 2021, photo By Sgt. Katelyn Myers/U.S. Army


    The Problem of Intra-Theater Lift: Moving Things Around in the Pacific Area of Responsibility

    The U.S. joint force's ability to move materiel and people across oceans and continents is unique among militaries. But there are challenges all along the supply chain, addressed by different agencies and military commands in a complicated set of processes, and a collective reluctance to assume responsibility for the mission.

    Sep 6, 2022

  • An illustration of 5G towers in a


    America's 5G Era: Strengthening Current and Future U.S. Technical Competitiveness in 5G

    Fifth-generation telecommunications technology (5G) offers a wide variety of potential applications. Authors discuss the global state of play in several aspects of the 5G ecosystem and raise several issues for policymakers to consider.

    Jun 30, 2022

  • A computer server with brightly colored lines representing computer networks. Photo by piranka / Getty Images, A computer server with brightly colored lines representing compu


    Disclosure of Software Supply Chain Risks

    This Perspective presents a set of proposed disclosure rules that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could implement to help address software supply chain risks and improve security.

    May 26, 2022

  • Report


    Contractor Risk and Performance Indicators: Prototype Functional Specification and Developer Document

    This report presents the technical design and architecture of a RAND-developed software prototype that assesses relative contractor risks in Department of the Air Force acquisition contracts and programs as described in two companion reports.

    May 16, 2022