White House weighs tapping National Guard to address mounting supply chain backlog

The idea appears unlikely to proceed as of now, the people said, but reflects the extent to which internal administration deliberations about America’s overwhelmed supply chain have sparked outside-the-box proposals to leverage government resources to address the issue.

The people involved in discussions stressed the White House has looked at the option as part of its due diligence in assessing all potential ways to address the backlog, which has slowed down imports and shipping all over the country. One person with knowledge of the matter said the White House has not considered activating the National Guard at a federal level but could instead work through states to deploy service members.

Major questions remain unresolved as to how the National Guard could be deployed, given the extent of the logistical challenges. White House officials have weighed whether members of the guard could drive trucks amid a shortage of operators, or if they could be used to help unload packages and other materials at ports or other clogged parts of the supply chain. As part of the review, White House officials have studied what kinds of driver’s licenses are held by National Guard members and if they would be sufficient to deploy them as truckers without hurting their ability to fulfill their existing responsibilities to the guard, the people said.