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


April 13, 2020


April 13th OSD A&S COVID Conference Call Notes:


  • Sad news with the passing of a sailor on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • U.S. Northern Command deployed 12,500 folks to support COVID.
  • Guard deployed 29,000 in COVID response.
  • 15,000 personnel from the Army Corps of engineers are engaged in COVID work.


  • Friday night at 10PM EST, under the CARES ACT, DPA approved a project for COVID green lighted for contract award—$133M contract awarded by noon Saturday to increase production of N95 masks by 35M over next 90 days.
  • OSD has been working with FEMA to leverage Title 3 DPA authority and they have awarded this mask contract and are working on four additional awards, which will be announced shortly.
  • JATF is leading DPA Title 3 execution with Air Force acquisition.
  • HHS announced first contract award for ventilators.
  • We can expect increased cadence with respect to DPA awards.
  • Regarding CARES Act loans for small businesses and Sec 4303 $17B for national security goals—DoD is sending to Treasury the immediate needs from industry for loans and input continues to be needed from Associations and Chamber; getting back to work—PPE and test kits for industry to get essential workers in the DIB back to work—industry please keep sending your requirements in to OSD for what is needed to get staff back to work.


  • JATF continues to remain busy developing COVID leads and follow through. They are refining networks and mission.
  • JATF’s Current focus is on masks, PPE, pharma, etc.
  • There was a breakthrough with the FEMA team late last week to join and merge databases to harmonize and make easier for industry with one single portal location rather than several.
  • Once the new single portal is live, there will be no need to resubmit proposals, it will all be merged—DoD and FEMA; JATF will provide a final update and instructions regarding the combined portal program.


  • DPA title 3 was released this weekend.
  • Experienced first use of transport isolation feature for three civilians in Afghanistan who are COVID 19 positive.
  • A statement from SecDef will be made today regarding the recent Sailor’s passing.
  • 1-2 press briefs can be expected each day going forward while several other DPA releases will be coming later this week.
  • They are planning an Hon Lord press brief later this week.


  • Commercial item determination—Thursday stated see to submit commercial item determinations and that is now up and running.
  • Virtual and remote QA (quality assurance) for three sites in Europe—GE, IT and Sweden, are going well and will continue such engagements. They are willing to expand to other sites globally and conus.
  • DCMA wants to explore institutionalizing these remote QA concepts to more sites.
  • Mexican suppliers are shutting down over the weekend, and today mostly anecdotal data has been sent to DCMA. They are seeking factual information regarding Mexico closures sent directly to DCMA.


  • Sec 3610 guidance was released last week.
  • They plan to operate on a weekly op tempo to update FAQs so check OSD DPC website Friday evenings to see latest updates.
  • They are focused on inputs relative to being efficient in handling a large volume of REA activity and forming groups to figure out how best to prepare.
  • Continuing to monitor payment issues overall and certainly progress payment flow down.
  • CENTCOM and AFRICOM, regarding contractor support personnel, confirmed that there is readily available military air (MILAIR) to move contractors around in those regions and letters of authorizations are in place for these contract personnel to fly and seats are being reserved for them as needed.


  • Over 7,000 suppliers have been in touch with DLA through their portal and other social media platforms, so DLA has done well in touching base with most of their supply base (comprised of just over 9,000 vendors).
  • They are tracking over 500 industry closures as of today.
  • DLA is working with Ford and GM on production and donations.
  • An award went last week to Battelle for a mask sterilization program.
  • In addition to COVID there is the normal business of weapons support and sustainment so DLA is turning more attention to normal business to confirm health of those programs.
  • Webinar series later this month with NDIA regarding weapons systems supply base readiness challenges.


  • U.S. Ambassador is engaged in discussions at the highest levels in Mexico; still working the launch of a table discussion lead by the Ambassador -- OSD does not yet have details on how the Ambassador will set up the round table so stayed tuned.
  • OSD IC is trying to collect as many examples of supply chain factual issues with respect to shut downs in Mexico as possible.
  • DCM in Mexico is tacking actual shut down data and factory locations in Mexico and working how best to address each with regional as well as Federal Mexican government officials.


  • I asked about the closure number to clarify that it is truly over 500. There was much discussion on this, the answer is yes and growing. OSD asked if DLA/DCMA tracking data by region and industry could be shared and they are working to do so.
  • OSD is hosting a micro-electronics listening session with NDIA regarding spectrum and electronics.
  • There are still questions about when DLA will start accelerating progress payments and DLA stated they are working to do so and will keep us informed.
  • Issues of telework lessons learned post COVID and adopting new practices and capability as part of a resiliency effort for the next crisis were discussed.
  • OSD has put into stimulus #4 a wedge for rebuilding capability and capacity for areas of vulnerability exposed during this crisis.

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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