We have also heard the President tell the states this is substantially a state problem and the feds are there to help and backstop. Finally, we are hearing about the shear lack of ventilators and hospital beds when (just a few weeks ago it was "should") a pandemic hit the United States. All of this makes me wonder if this is truly the best way to deal with a national emergency.
By now many of you have also seen the incredible Ted talk Bill Gates gave back in 2015 where he essentially predicted this COVID-19 outbreak. While not predicting this one in particular, Mr. Gates did say something like this would happen. I highly encourage you to watch this:
Here are some key points from the talk (March of 2015):
- The next big crisis will be from "microbes" not "missiles".
- We have insulated ourselves from huge war catastrophes (i.e. a nuclear war or another world war) because we have spent a trillion dollars plus on national defense and the infrastructure required to defend the United States.
- We have a military which can scale up dramatically in a short time to fight or deter a war.
- We should model our fight against microbes after the structure of the military. You have a permanent "active" force and you have a large "reserve" force which can be called up and which actively practices, trains. and stays functional.
So, the question I am thinking about now is if it is time to have a "Reserve Supply Chain Force"? This would be something you would sign up for just like the military reserves. You would have a role / rank, you would go and practice once a month on the weekend, you would do a 2 week summer training and you would be available to be called up if the government activated the reserves. We would have needs for coordination with civilian industry, you would run a huge reserve of trucks, trailers and drivers and you would work for a leader of this organization.
If your civilian job was in an "Essential industry or company" you may get activated but stay embedded in that company to coordinate all the work.
There are a lot of details to work out but perhaps we need this force that can work in the complex civilian world of supply chain and tie it to the needs of a pandemic so we can scale up the supply chain and distribution / logistics network very quickly. What would this accomplish:
- It would allow us to scale up almost instantaneously. Get the expertise in place, get the trucks / trailers along with drivers and immediately establish the infrastructure for leadership.
- It would prioritize the loading of the nation's supply chain after huge "air in the pipe" is created (Think the run on TP). This could be done in conjunction with FEMA.
- It would allow us to train so we are ready right away. By being trained we don't take months to just figure out "how things work".
- Finally, it would establish a professional "corps" which is qualified, ready and willing to get called up as needed.