Recent announcements regarding the hiring of noted private sector executives to drive needed innovation across the U.S. government got me thinking:  Why not a Chief Supply Chain Officer?

The most recent appointment was that of a Chief Technology Officer as an assistant to President Obama (Wall Street Journal Article).   In his April 18th weekly address to the nation (video link and transcript), President Obama further named Jeffrey Zients, a leading CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur, to be Chief Performance Officer, along with Aneesch Chopra to serve as America’s Chief Technology Officer. Based on U.S. Senate confirmation, Mr. Zients and Mr. Chopra will join the previously announced Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer, in a combined effort to streamline government processes, cut costs, and facilitate best practices throughout our government. 

Don’t misinterpret, driving innovation and new thinking across the U.S. government is certainly long overdue, and I applaud the President for his initiatives, but if the U.S. does want to drive innovation, cost control, and more responsiveness across all agencies, than don’t stop here, include operations and supply chain.  Here are my arguments:

  • When you consider all of the federal government’s activities, including all of the military agencies, the U.S. government would probably represent the world’s largest supply chain with overall spend in the billions of dollars.


  • It does not take a rocket scientist to conclude an overall umbrella of strategy related to shared services, policies and logistics across the multitude of U.S. government supply chains is sorely lacking. Did you ever stop to consider the overall procurement spending of the combined U.S. government?  How much leverage would that has have on existing or future suppliers?


  • The size of the U.S. government morphs the largest transportation and logistics suppliers such as Fedex or UPS, including transportation assets.  Each of these private companies has executive oversight of strategy, operations and technology.  So why not the federal government.


  • Finally, think of the possibilities of how advanced supply chain technology, software applications, and supply chain analytics can do if effectively coordinated and deployed across key U.S. governmental agencies.

The appointments of key private sector leaders to drive necessary change is a step in the right direction, but don’t stop there.  A Chief Supply Chain Officer would bolster the President’s plan for restoring a sense of responsibility, transparency and accountability to the U.S. federal budget.  Many companies have leveraged efficiency as well as bolstered agility in their supply chains through dynamic executive leadership.  Why not include such a role for the U.S. government.

What’s your view?  Do you believe that there is a need for a Chief Supply Chain Officer for the U.S.? 

Bob Ferrari