Summary: The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent government watchdog organization that has been publishing many reports on the US government’s supply chain security initiatives over the past ten years. This article reviews 25 most relevant GAO’s reports that discuss strengths, weaknesses and future challenges of the US policies and regulations on supply chain security. The review findings reveal interesting facts about similarities and differences of the US and the EU approaches to supply chain security. This comparison opens new venues for further Transatlantic benchmarking as well as harmonisation and mutual recognition of supply chain security programs. This review was conducted as part of European FP7-Project CORE. The reviewed document is available for download here: https://hicl.org. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)
Full review: The GAO reports suggest that the US administration has been struggling with effective performance monitoring and auditing of its supply chain security initiatives. The reports indicate that there is some confusion about costs of security initiatives for the government and for the business community. There is also a lack of common understanding about the actual benefits of many of these programs. The GAO reports also urge US government officials to adopt risk-based approach to supply chain security, for example to use information and intelligence to assess risk levels of specific shipments, people, trading companies, and other entities, and then employ security solutions that are commensurate to the risk level. The GAO reports also emphasize the importance of involving the industry in the process of defining new policies and regulations.
Altogether, the review team found that the GAO documents are not only highly relevant for SCS management and governance but also of high quality. The study concludes that it might be useful for the EU to establish a quality-assurance organization similar to the US GAO. This new EU body would oversee spending of the EU and its member states on supply chain security programs and projects and this way improve efficiency of such investments.
Reference: Männistö, T., and Hintsa J., (2015), “A Decade of GAO’s Supply Chain Security Oversight,” Proceedings of the Hamburg International Conference in Logistics (HICL), September 24-25, 2015, Hamburg