Partnering With the U.S. Defense Industrial Base to Combat COVID-19

Statement attributed to Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, Department of Defense spokesman:

"The Department continues to aggressively partner with the defense industry to mitigate impacts from the COVID-19 national emergency.

Under Secretary of Defense Ellen Lord's Acquisition and Sustainment leaders in Industrial Policy, Defense Pricing and Contracting, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Defense Contracting Management Agency (DCMA) continue to work closely with the military services, the Hill and State Governors to make significant progress supporting the whole of government effort to combat COVID-19.

This week DLA modified an existing contract for the procurement of 8,000 ventilators from four vendors worth an estimated $84.4 million. This will be a time-phased delivery over the next several months and we expect orders to begin shipment within the next few days, with 1400 being delivered by early May. Delivery locations will be determined by FEMA.

In addition, DLA’s support to the Navy's hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, includes over $2 million in pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, 975,000 gallons of fuel, as well as food and repair parts. These New York City and Los Angeles deployments respectively will help local medical systems by helping alleviate strain on civilian medical infrastructure.

DTRA has helped deliver six C-17 (military air) shipments, totaling 3 million COVID-19 test kit swabs, to support U.S. medical professionals testing needs. DTRA will continue to work with U.S. Transportation Command to support future deliveries. Future flights starting next week will increase test kit amounts significantly in the months ahead.

The Department has processed several hundred contracts and orders related to COVID activities, including everything ranging from transportation, communication to medical supplies. DCMA is implementing a mass modification to approximately 1,500 contracts to raise the limits on progress payments from to 90% for large businesses, and to 95% for small businesses.

This will provide immediate cash flow to industry, especially small businesses in the supply chain, once incorporated into the contract. The department has a high expectation level that prime companies are also ensuring cash flow is moving to small businesses in their respective supply chains.

The department continues to partner with industry to retool and remission production lines to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators and other critical personal protective equipment.

The industrial policy defense trade associations calls continue, and the department held its first defense industry small business call today. Industrial Policy’s Small Business Office, and the military service small business offices, were on the line to provide updates and receive feedback, and continue to work with the Small Business Administration and their small business emergency loan program to help protect these companies.

The Joint Acquisition Task Force is integrated within FEMA’s National Coordination Center, and will help communicate demand signals for medical products to industry. It will also help identify areas of fragility in the defense industrial base, and to help develop capacity.

The department will continue to leverage its traditional DPA Title authorities to support the industrial base and the national emergency, but to date, DOD has not executed any DPA efforts that fall under Executive Order 13909 the President issued on March 18, 2020.

The department is using the Defense Acquisition University to help keep the 140,000 acquisition professionals updated.

Under Secretary Lord remains very grateful and proud of the 140,000 strong acquisition workforce, who continue to selflessly support efforts to combat COVID-19."

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