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Case Studies

Supply chain resilience study

Over the past 20 years, the UK has progressively adopted a risk-management approach to security, in which the priority for investment in resilience to all kinds of threat and hazard is informed by an assessment of the likelihood of harm or disruption to key British interests, and the seriousness of the likely impacts. So say John Tesh and Jennifer Cole of the defence and security think-tank RUSI in a paper on supply chain resilience. It’s the UK country-report chapter of a larger study on how countries are planning to deal with disruptions in the security of supply chains, in particular: food and drinking water; energy resources (oil, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind); and pharmaceuticals.

Supply chain resilience is for the most part regarded as a matter for the (now largely private sector) owners and operators of essential service providers in the national infrastructure sectors; but the UK government has tempered this market-based approach with moves towards a partnership model to manage what it sees as an increasingly risk-prone security environment for energy, food and some other strategic goods and services, in the medium- to long-term future.

The paper examines the UK’s approach to supply-chain resilience mainly through a survey of government documents that deal with various aspects of the security of the supply of strategic goods, understood as those goods or services that are essential to the well-being of the UK.

You can read the 31-page report at

The authors point out that nlike the US and the Dutch, for example, the UK government largely does not hold budgets for implementing the security or resilience of critical national infrastructure; this is instead paid for by the owners/operators on the basis that reasonable costs can be included in the price charged on to the customer.

About RUSI

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is a think tank founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington.

Pictured by Mark Rowe: antique fuel pump, Knighton, Welsh Marches.


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