ISA Webinar Series 

Industrial Policy Webinar Series
Academic Year 2021-2022


Soon after taking office, the Biden Administration launched a government-wide comprehensive assessment of U.S. competitiveness in key industrial sectors. Once a regular facet of national economic development policy, such a broad assessment had not been carried out and acted on for almost 100 years, since Herbert Hoover was Commerce Secretary. The rationale for the return of industrial policy was spelled out in a Carnegie Endowment paper co-authored by Jake Sullivan, now National Security Adviser, in September 2020 -- "Making U.S. Foreign Policy Work Better for the Middle Class." The notion of industrial policy as critical to U.S. global interests was further described in speeches by National Economic Council Director Brian Deese in June 2021, "The Biden White House plan for a new US industrial policy," and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken this past August, "Domestic Renewal as a Foreign Policy Priority."

The means for conducting a substantial part of this comprehensive assessment is laid out in President Biden's Executive Order on America's Supply Chains (E.O. 14017, February 24, 2021). This calls for four product-specific supply chain assessment in 100 days (pharmaceuticals, advanced batteries, semiconductors, and critical minerals) and six industrial base-specific assessments by December 2021 (defense, public health and biological preparedness, information and communications technology, energy, transportation, and agricultural commodities and food products). 

Liz Reynolds, Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing and Economic Development and long-time ISA member, is managing the implementation of the president's executive order on behalf of the National Economic Council. Sue Helper, Senior Economist in the Council of Economic Advisers and another long-time ISA member, is actively engaged in the supply chain assessment process.

On June 8, the White House issued "Fact Sheet: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to Address Short-Term Supply Chain Discontinuities," which summarized and linked to the four 100-day assessments in "Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-based Growth." 

This ISA Industrial Policy webinar series will devote one session each to discussing each of the four supply chain assessments in the White House report --  pharmaceuticals, advanced batteries, and semiconductors. Each is moderated by an ISA member expert in the industry; starts with a summary of assessment findings and recommendations by an Administration representative, follows with three disccussants from industry and academic; then moves to audience Q&A and breakout rooms.

Past Webinars

Wednesday, October 6 (12-2 PM ET): Improving the Safety, Security, Robustness, and Resilience of the Nation’s Drug Supply Chain

Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one of the Biden Administration’s supply chain reviews released in June 2021 assessed pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. The review found that the pharmaceutical supply chain is complex, global, and vulnerable to disruptions. The review argued that a robust pharmaceutical supply chain is able to consistently manufacture high-quality products; is geographically-diversified; has redundancy; and has the flexibility to change volumes and products in response to changes in supply and demand. This panel will summarize and discuss the results of the HHS-led assessment, from one end of the supply chain (doctor/patient) to the other (key starting materials/active pharmaceutical ingredients).

Moderator: John Gray, Professor, Operations and Business Analytics Department, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University

Administration Presenter: Elisabeth Reynolds, Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing and Economic Development, National Economic Council


Wednesday, November 3 (12-2 PM ET): Chip Lockdown – The Future of Semiconductor Supply Chains

Semiconductor chips are integral to an extraordinary array of products in the Information Age, and their importance has only grown as societies have shifted on-line during the pandemic. The pandemic also revealed vulnerabilities in the semiconductor supply chain, leading to shortages that have idled production in a number of key industrial sectors and raised concerns about U.S. national security. This session will examine the federal semiconductor supply chain review from the industrial, managerial, and policy perspectives and consider how well the proposed response matches up to the problem.

Moderator: Melissa Appleyard, Ames Professor in the Management of Innovation and Technology, School of Business Administration, Portland State University

Administration Presenter: Sree Ramaswamy, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce 


  • Stephen Ezell: Vice President, Global Innovation Policy, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation 
  • Bernhard (Ben) Sell: Vice President, Director Specialized Technologies, Intel 
  • John VerWey: Global Security, Technology, and Policy Group, National Security Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 


Wednesday, December 1 (12-2 PM ET): Taking Charge - Batteries for Electric Vehicles and the Transformation of the Automotive Supply Chain

The auto industry is on the cusp of its greatest transformation in more than a century, shifting from internal combustion engines to electric motors powered by lithium-ion batteries. China, which already plays an important role in global auto supply chains, has been the first mover in this transformation, sparking concerns in the United States and elsewhere. This session will explore the United States’ proposed response to this challenge and its profound links to both long-run economic prosperity and the future of the planet.

  • Moderator: John Helveston, Assistant Professor, Engineering Management & Systems Engineering, George Washington University
  • Administration Presenter: Susan Helper, Senior Economist, White House Council of Economic Advisers
  • Discussants:
    • George W. Crabtree, Director, Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, Argonne National Laboratory
    • Kristin Dziczek, Senior Vice President – Research, Center for Automotive Research
    • John Paul MacDuffie, President, Industry Studies Association, and Professor of Management, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, February 2 (12-2 PM ET): Essential Elements for Economic Competitiveness and National Security

For some time, the federal government has paid increased attention to the nation's reliance on a diverse array of critical minerals from a complex set of globe-spanning supply chains. While the nature of critical mineral uses and supply chain risks and vulnerabilities have changed over time with technological advances and geo-political shifts, the country's dependence on them to sustain economic growth and national security has only grown. This session will review and discuss the White House report's critical minerals supply chain assessment led by the Department of Defense -- particularly its findings and recommendations in the context of recent congressional actions.

Moderator: Eugene Gholz, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame
Administration Presenter: Alex Jacquez, Senior Policy Advisor, National Economic Council, The White House


  • Roderick Eggert, Chair, Mineral Economics, Colorado School of Mines and Deputy Director, Critical Materials Institute, Ames Laboratory
  • Abigail Wulf, Director, Ambassador Alfred Hoffman, Jr. Center for Critical Minerals Strategy, SAFE
  • Elisa Alonso, Critical Materials and Sustainability Analyst, Materials Flow Group, National Minerals Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey


Wednesday, March 2 (12-2 PM ET): The Energy Sector Industrial Base – Core Questions for Economic, National Security, and Climate Policy

The Department of Energy was tasked with leading a report on supply chains for the energy sector industrial base in February 2021. The goal of this effort is “greater domestic production, a range of supply, built-in redundancies, adequate stockpiles, safe and secure digital networks, and a world-class American manufacturing base and workforce…while meeting economic, national security, and climate objectives.” The study charge is immense as are the stakes.  DOE’s Office of Policy has been leading the effort, and this webinar will provide an overview from that office and discussion of it with experts representing three key sectors: solar photovoltaics, wind energy, and nuclear power.

Presenter: Carla Frisch, Principal Deputy Director, Office of Policy, U.S. Department of Energy

Leslie Dewan, CEO and Cofounder, RadiantNano
Scott Moskowitz, Director of Strategy and Public Affairs, Q Cells
Kavita Surana, University of Maryland, Center for Global Sustainability

Moderator: David Hart, Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University