Supply Chain Policy

A cargo ship being loaded at port.

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RAND Social and Economic Well-Being conducts research that helps the public and private sectors address issues critical to the supply chains that drive the U.S., North American, and international economies, with a special emphasis on freight transportation.

The transportation and global logistics industries have problems of enormous complexity that are solvable through research and development, yet analysis has not been a high priority in these fields. RAND is known for high-quality research in support of public policy and has a long history of conducting analysis that is both independent and guided by the concerns of its business partners.

  • Commercial trucks cross over the Ambassador Bridge at the international border crossing during the COVID-19 outbreak, in Detroit, Michigan, March 18, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Supply Chain Disruptions Due to COVID-19 and Social Distancing

    Apr 28, 2020

    There are significant epidemiological and economic risks and uncertainties with physical distancing policies put into effect in the United States to reduce the growth of COVID-19. We have estimated the economy-wide impacts of a set of these policies to provide a sense of their likely economic toll.

RAND provides analysis in four areas to support long-term strategic decision-making:

  • Evaluating and forecasting the economic effects of supply chain disruptions and shifting trade patterns.
  • Identifying physical, operational, regulatory, and legal vulnerabilities to the performance of the freight transport system.
  • Formulating and assessing short and long term measures and implementation strategies available to the public and private sectors to improve the performance of the freight transport system.
  • Assessing opportunities for advanced technologies to play a role in addressing critical issues, such as security, enhanced productivity, and environmental mitigation.


  • Naval Operational Supply System: Analysis of Alternatives 2018

    The Department of the Navy asked the RAND Corporation to assist with the Analysis of Alternatives for modernization of its future operational supply, food service, and retail operations capability, the Naval Operational Supply System. The authors recommend moving to commercial solutions to mitigate existing challenges related to stove piped, antiquated systems that have reliability, supportability, maintainability, and affordability problems.

  • Toward Resiliency in the Joint Blood Supply Chain 2018

    Ensuring that blood remains available and safe for the Joint military community requires sophisticated logistical support and a dependable supply chain in large-scale combat operations. This report describes the current elements of the military's blood supply chain, outlines a framework for assessing its performance, and then explores an array of approaches offering promise of improving the resiliency of the blood supply chain.

  • 3D Printing: Downstream Production Transforming the Supply Chain 2017

    This Perspective describes potential uses of 3D printing in a military context to help the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) understand the structural and policy changes that might be required to support these efforts as well as future impacts on DoD's supply chain. It discusses different types of 3D printing technologies, tracing 3D printing from its origin to its potential to transform supply chains for DoD.

  • Army Stock Positioning: How Can Distribution Performance Be Improved? 2017

    How could the U.S. Army improve its distribution of heavy secondary items that account for a small proportion of the overall items but comprise the majority of the weight shipped? This report analyzes how the Army could leverage the scheduled-truck network of Defense Logistics Agency Distribution hubs to reduce wait time for customers while saving nearly $1 million monthly in shipping costs.

  • Critical Materials and U.S. Import Reliance: Recent Developments and Recommended Actions 2017

    Testimony presented before House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on December 12, 2017.

  • Developing a Capacity Assessment Framework for Marine Logistics Groups 2017

    The Marine Corps' Marine Logistics Groups (MLGs) structure provides general and direct logistic combat support across all functional area of logistics. However, MLGs do not have a standardized method to determine their ability to provide logistics support. This report provides a capacity assessment framework to assist each of the MLGs, or any size unit, in determining the ability of logistics units to meet current and projected tasks.

  • Examining the Food-Energy-Water and Conflict Nexus 2018

    This article provides an in-depth review of the interactions between insecurity and conflict within the component sectors of the FEW nexus.

  • Let There Be Light: Green Industrial Policy and Energy Access in India 2017

    Explores the competitiveness of India's domestic manufacturing across the supply chain; barriers and enablers to developing a domestic industry; and the cost of industrial policy support.

  • Identifying Efficiencies in the Supply Chain for Training Ammunition: Methods, Models, and Recommendations 2016

    The U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) asked RAND Arroyo Center to analyze the U.S. Army's training ammunition supply chain to determine where efficiencies leading to cost reduction could be realized while maintaining or improving service levels with an eye to achieving a more efficient supply chain for CONUS-based training ammunition and meeting the Army's requirements for operational preparedness in light of current fiscal constraints.

  • Critical Materials, U.S. Import Dependence, and Recommended Actions: Addendum 2015

    Document submitted on May 26, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on May 12, 2015.