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Reagan Institute Releases Recommendations to Reinvigorate American Manufacturing and Secure Critical Supply Chains

John May, Founder of Chicago-based CORE Industrial Partners, served on the Task Force alongside experts in national security, manufacturing, capital, supply chains, and public policy

The Reagan Institute’s Center for Peace Through Strength today released the findings and recommendations of its bipartisan Task Force on National Security and U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness. John May, Founder and Managing Partner of CORE Industrial Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, served on the Task Force, which included leaders and experts in national security, manufacturing, capital, supply chains, and public policy.

Titled, “A Manufacturing Renaissance: Bolstering U.S. Production for National Security and Economic Prosperity,” the report focuses on four key recommendations, including scaling up workforce training, establishing public-private partnerships to invest in manufacturing, modernizing the Defense Production Act for the 21st century, and creating a new global forum for geo-economic cooperation. The Task Force found that these targeted, mutually reinforcing steps will be necessary for revitalizing America’s manufacturing competitiveness to support economic growth, supply chain resiliency, and national security. The Task Force’s final report and recommendations are available here.

“It was an honor to serve as part of this vital Task Force, providing a frontline and forward-thinking perspective regarding the private sector’s role in shaping the future of manufacturing here in the Midwest, nationwide, and around the globe,” said May, who founded CORE in 2018. “Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, is being powered by a new generation of rapidly growing manufacturers, fusing technology with advanced process and engineering design. The success of Industry 4.0 is at the center of the Task Force’s recommendations and now is the time to put these ideas into action.”

The Task Force was co-chaired by Marillyn Hewson, former Chairman, President, and CEO of Lockheed Martin, and David McCormick, the CEO of Bridgewater Associates and a former Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

“The economic and national security threat from China cannot be ignored,” said Hewson. “There is bipartisan support to take action, and this report identifies steps that we can take to strengthen and leverage investments in infrastructure, facilities, technology, and most importantly, people.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that we can no longer afford to neglect the resiliency of our supply chains and defer capital investment in national security-critical sectors. The pandemic also demonstrated the creative potential inherent in America’s economy,” said McCormick. “By investing in that potential, we can rebuild a world-class manufacturing sector that helps to keep our country safe.”

The Task Force identified six major challenges to revitalizing America’s manufacturing competitiveness. These include a significant skills gap, unsatisfactory productivity gains, inadequate investment in infrastructure, a fragile supplier ecosystem, insufficient coordination among government actors, and inadequate architecture for international competition.

To address these challenges, the Task Force proposed four signature policy recommendations:

  1. Scale up workforce development programs to credential more workers for high-demand trades: We should expand employers’ roles in workforce training by repurposing existing federal education grants to allow high school graduates to earn credentialed skills. U.S. manufacturers should commit to fund 500,000 new graduates of trade school and apprenticeship programs over the next decade.
  2. Stand up a public-private capability to finance investments in domestic manufacturing sectors critical to national security: The federal government must develop the capability to work with private sector employers, as well as state and local governments, to provide liquidity and low-cost capital to critical domestic manufacturers and infrastructure.
  3. Modernize the Defense Production Act for the 21st Century: Update the DPA to enable holistic solutions for critical manufacturing facilities, such as targeted visa approvals for STEM talent, direct project financing, automatic fast-tracking of permits, and investments in workforce training.
  4. Establish a new forum of G7 + Quad countries to coordinate on geo-economic issues: The United States should establish a new forum to promote enhanced coordination on topics like growth, data governance, technology standards, and supply chain security.


CORE Industrial Partners is a Chicago-based private equity firm with $700 million of capital commitments investing in North American lower middle-market manufacturing, industrial technology and services businesses. CORE’s team is comprised of highly experienced former CEOs and investment professionals with shared beliefs, deep experience, and a proven track record of building market-leading businesses. Through our capital, insight, and operational expertise, CORE partners with management teams and strives to build best-in-class companies. For more information, visit


The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute is the nonprofit organization created by President Reagan himself and specifically charged by him with continuing his legacy and sharing his principles -individual liberty, economic opportunity, global democracy and national pride. The Foundation is a non-partisan organization which sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA, the Reagan Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center, The Air Force One Pavilion and the award-winning Discovery Center, as well as the Reagan Institute, which carries out the Foundation’s work in Washington, D.C. The Reagan Library houses over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 60,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It also serves as the final resting place of America’s 40th President and his First Lady.


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