Keith Webster Keith Webster
President, Defense and Aerospace Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President, Federal Acquisition Council, Cyber, Space and National Security Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 17, 2021



  • The Department of Commerce and possibly the Department of Energy have federal register notices out for semiconductor microelectronics relevant to the executive order on the supply chain. The DOD is having discussions on whether or not they will be doing the same; there is significant interest from the White House on how they could/should handle this.
  • If you’re interested in making input relevant to the semiconductor review, that will be available for you to do. I did ask that if there is a portal or website we should be directing folks to, the response was not yet.


  • PPE Update: The White House supports the distribution of 6 million masks by qualified health centers and food banks.
  • Update on the delivery of Gowns: Reusable gowns are at 76% percent delivery and the delivery of disposable gowns is 73% complete.
  • There is an RFI out closing tomorrow looking for information on domestic manufacturing capabilities for PPE and looking for a wide variety of items: gloves, shoe covers, specimen collection supplies, swabs, and alike.


  • No full closures within the DIB this week; there are 11 facilities impacted from COVID ranging from outbreaks to absenteeism. This is ranging across most of the small businesses, but large are struggling to a certain extent as well.


  • The American Rescue Plan Act has been acted into law; Section 4015 of that Act extended 3610 through September 2021. They will be updating class deviations accordingly.

Small Business:

  • Small business is at 15.14 of 76% eligible dollars awarded to small business so they’re right at 41.03% and of their COVID buys, they are at upward of $3.44 billion in obligations and 59% of that has been awarded to small business.
  • Airforce: $29.5 billion total spent; $5.5 billion has gone to small business.
  • Navy: Not on the call.
  • Army: Awarded 28.39% of prime government contracts to small business worth a total of $9.7 billion.

Associations and Chamber:

  • Has there been any word on the executive order on minimum wage and how that process is materializing? Nothing has materialized; ongoing discussions but nothing to share at this point.
  • Any initiative to move forward with accelerated payments? Still digesting other pieces of the American Rescue Plan and they have not had a chance to review and discuss this.
  • Question on PPE directed at big and small business: Are you seeing trends moving onshore instead of offshore? Generally, there is a high response to solicitations, but it depends on what kind of PPE we’re talking about- for example, gloves are almost entirely offshore; they’re finding a lot of trouble finding an increased capacity domestically. They believe there is a more than adequate supply of ventilators, however that questions should go to HHS as ventilators are not the responsibility of the DIB. Overall there is a lot of interest from domestic suppliers but passing standards has been a hurdle.
  • How is the acquisition reform working for space force? No one on the call felt qualified to address this.

Next call is April 7th.

About the authors

Keith Webster

Keith Webster

Keith Webster, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Defense and Aerospace Council, guides the focus of the council to strengthen the U.S. defense and aerospace industries by influencing domestic and international policy on behalf of its members.

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