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April 15th OSD A&S COVID Conference Call Notes:
- Trump announced opening a country council that will include some primes from DIB.
- DoD is working to help DIB remain open and running; over 3M companies reached thru these calls.
- SecDef and Chairman conducted a press brief yesterday; over 50,000 military personnel supporting COVID effort.
- Update on key issues:
- (1) PPE for essential DIB workers—OSD is working this with Personnel and Readiness, Services and now Hill staff are engaged on this issue as well and no decision but they are close to reaching one.
- (2) COVID threats at base, installations and need for timely communication with industry is a top priority. Please ensure OSD knows of disconnects—one concern raised is that industry is reluctant to blow the whistle on a base commander so is there something in writing for industry to have in hand?—OSD said we can manage this privately but this is too serious to worry about relations with base commanders so just report the issue to OSD if there is one.
- (3) A memo was drafted, as well as press release to acknowledge the commitment of the DIB workforce to national security.
- (4) DPA Title 3 info sheets—Public Affairs approval done and will issue today for us to pass to industry.
- (5) Still working banking issues so please keep the info flowing to OSD Small Business team.
- The interagency is working to get DIB definition clarified with DHS CISA.
- DHS is still working to finalize CISA version 3.0, which they intend to issue this week—nuclear and foreign sales is included in the final draft of version 3.0—also DHS CISA interim guidance coming regarding essential workers and those infected and procedures to remain open.
- DHS is working final guidance on collaboration software (Zoom) but that draft has not been issued for comment yet.
- Regarding the DHS NRCC merger with JATF website portal -- this has not gone live and they are working the disconnects, so stand by.
- Industry should continue submitting proposals in both the FEMA and JATF portals until further guidance.
- Regarding Sec 3610— They continue to meet internally to align efforts and are working FAQs with new version to be posted by this Friday COB.
- Keep submitting your CARES Act input to DARS portal at OSD.DPC and note Section 3610 in title; working how industry should document time, sick leave time, etc., regarding claims under Sec 3610.
- NOTE: Contract personnel in Afghanistan --US4A and CENTCOM and J4 have ordered the redeployment of COVID at risk personnel—those age 60 and above with other risk factors—approximately a 1,000 contactor personnel of 24,000 in theater seem at risk and DPC will soon issue a memo to contracting officers to partner with contractors to get top level personnel information and names to commanders ASAP and to work redeployment orders and transportation for contract personnel to get out of Afghanistan. Kuwait has stopped extending VISAs for US contract personnel in Kuwait supporting various systems and this is soon to be a major issue—OSD will work it.
- Question raised re Sec 3610 claims for industries buying PPE and those not able to perform due to supply chain impacts—are these claims under Sec 3610? DPC did not answer and said instead to send those questions into the DPC portal to add to the FAQ publication. Will there be a whole of government Section 3610 guidance? OSD DPC said OMB has a draft in circulation, which they are planning to eventually issue, but it will be very broad as OMB has stated their memo will be “guardrail” guidance.
- Progress payment questions:
- how is the department doing against $3B? DCMA thru DFAS MOCAS 1-13 April dispersed $500M to date but there are other payouts soon to hit this week thru end of next week which will come up to ~$3B. $1.5B in invoices received in past three days alone. Taking about 13 days to process payments—two days less than January—note that the Financial Management Regulation states that progress payments are to be paid in 7 days but currently averaging about 5 days.
- There are outliers on some progress payments-- if a new contract that requires QA, etc., a progress payment could take up to 30 days.
- What are the stats for other pay offices other than DFAS? DCMA does not have insight but will try and find those stats. Good question as DCMA manages only about 50% of DoD contracts. DCMA will post this information as a FAQ posted to DCMA social media and other sites. OSD will provide to us these specific stats this evening.
- Payment stats—very few DLA contracts have progress payments and those that do will be captured by DCMA stats.
- Regarding accelerated payments for DLA contracts -- DLA is lacking the working capital funds needed to address accelerated payments on their contracts and OSD jumped in and said this request for additional working capital funds is in tranche 4 stimulus package.
- DLA continues to track closures—impacts are mostly textiles, bearings, gaskets and fittings to date.
- Sec and Chairman gave press brief yesterday, details are available on the DoD website.
- Letter to workforce from SecDef in response to our requests during an earlier call.
- Hon. Lord will address press either Friday or Monday depending on the USS Roosevelt investigation release.
- DoD has gone up with a ball park number on Stimulus 4 requests, yes or no? OSD confirmed yes and they worked closely with Services, Comptroller and NSC and OMB to formulate the DoD input specific to COVID impact. The DoD number is still pre-decisional so OSD will not share anymore on this issue and noted that the Senate and House are out to May 4th so we have to wait to share the details of the DoD stimulus request.
- Concerns about getting MODS done on FFP contracts timely was noted.
- Security clearances and back log and hearing from some industries who are concerned about a growing backlog—OSD and industry watch item--OSD said soon they will publish some flexible rules to address challenges with finger printing, lie detector testing, etc. to provide flexible workarounds allowing clearances to be processed to manage any growing backlog issues hopefully.
- Will OSD provide clear guidance regarding PPE and workers in the DIB?—OSD will defer to CDC and DHS on such guidance.
- I asked what’s up with the industry offers to help re COVID and submitted into the JATF portal and the first JATF review last Friday?—OSD said it depends and now sharing information at federal level for decision making. DoD thus far has not made any contact decisions with these offers.
- OSD order of the day is to go after those who have known capabilities—so its a challenge to assess quickly those not proven and offering to retool. This assessment and acceptance of those offers to retool will be in a phase 2 effort. So those offers are important and being archived but getting around 200 offers a day so tough to get through and make sense. However, OSD understands that industries can’t just sit around and they need some sense of go or no go and OSD will huddle and offer some advice to us soon.
- I noted that RH Sheppard was back up and running since I reached out to OSD last night.