ISA Webinar Series 

Industrial Policy Webinar Series
Fall 2021

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 fall's monthly ISA Industrial Policy webinar series will devote one session each to discussing three of supply chain assessments --  those for pharmaceuticals, advanced batteries, and semiconductors. Each will be moderated by an ISA member expert in the industry; begin with a summary of assessment findings and recommendations by an Administration representative, each of whom will be familiar to many of us -- Liz Reynolds on pharmaceuticals; Sue Helper on advanced batteries; and Sree Ramaswamy, Senior Policy Advisor to Commerce Secretary Raimondo, (invited) on semiconductors. Then we will hear from several discussants from industry and academia and move to audience Q&A and breakout rooms.

In addition to the series' ongoing aims of informing ISA members about federal industrial policy and facilitating connections with policymakers, this fall's sessions also will explore audience interest in participating in a standing ISA interest group focused on the industry of the day.

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
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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