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

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Written Evidence Submitted by RAND Europe: MIN0040 Critical Minerals

    This document provides RAND Europe’s submission of evidence in relation to the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s Call for Evidence on Critical Minerals and draws upon previous RAND research on critical minerals and supply chains.

    Nov 22, 2023

  • Footage released by Russia Ministry of Defense on March 9, 2022 allegedly shows convoy of Russia Armed Forces combat and logistic vehicles in an undisclosed area in Ukraine, photo by EyePress News/Reuters


    China Ponders Russia's Logistical Challenges in the Ukraine War

    Any attempt by China to use military force to seize Taiwan would be an immense logistical undertaking requiring moving large quantities of troops and materiel across the Taiwan Strait. What then, are Chinese observers learning from the logistical realm of the war in Ukraine?

    Aug 28, 2023

  • An M10 Booker combat vehicle, U.S. Army photo


    Do Generals Dream of Electric Tanks?

    Members of the House Armed Services Committee have expressed concerns over the electrification of Army combat vehicles. Though such concerns have some merit, there is also a larger issue motivating research and development efforts—the growing demand for energy on the battlefield.

    Aug 8, 2023

  • Ventilators at the New York City Emergency Management Warehouse are shipped out for distribution in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, March 24, 2020, photo by Caitlin Ochs/Reuters


    The Problem of Surge Capacity

    The vulnerability of supply chains to routine disruptions has been widely discussed and documented, but meeting such challenges can be even more difficult during unexpected surges in demand caused by wars, public health crises, or other emergencies. The creation of option contracts that would kick in during surges is one promising solution.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • Sailors aboard the USS Winston S. Churchill send pallets to the USNS Leroy Grumman in the Arabian Sea, January 19, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Louis Staats/U.S. Navy


    So Many Questions, So Little Time for Pacific Logistics

    The United States has been struggling to “pivot to the Pacific” for over a decade, and one of the major missing pieces is logistics. It is critical that the logistics underpinning a credible military deterrent be figured out now.

    Jun 23, 2023

  • A service member of pro-Russian troops in uniform without insignia at the weapons depot near Marinka, Donetsk Region, Ukraine, March 22, 2022, photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters


    Ukraine Is Running Out of Ammo. The West Doesn't Have Enough

    Bradley Martin, director of the RAND National Security Supply Chain Institute, is among the experts interviewed in a Semafor documentary about the challenge of supplying Ukraine with ammunition.

    May 23, 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

  • 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

  • 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