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 03, 2020



Thank you to those who participated on today’s call. For those who did not or wanted a recap, below are minutes from the discussion.

April 3rd OSD A&S COVID conference call notes:

  • 20K guardsmen have been activated and are working COVID now.
  • JATF portal open and up now.
  • There is a daily meeting with Sec Lord and all issues make it into that discussion.
  • There was a DIB Council meeting earlier today dedicated to COVID issues and same will meet again next week.
  • DepSecDef meeting today on COVID for full run down. No signs of all of this letting up so we need to keep pressing on. There is an action tracker up and running and knocking off the actions. More actions labeled as continuous as they are continuous.
  • DHS working 3rd revision to CISA; essentiality a letter that they will publish next week and will include nuclear workforce plus more—collecting input now.
  • Various financial matters are being addressed; they are receiving many calls and urge you to keep calling with your concerns.
  • Hot topics include stay at home orders, tracking with NDIA survey and welcome more survey data.
  • CARES ACT and ability to apply for paycheck protection and other relief and SBA rep was discussed on the call today to address questions.
  • They are committed to working with SBA to address concerns and are hosting a webinar with SBA specific to DIB small business tentatively next Wednesday at 2pm for associations and Chamber—more to come.
  • Federal senior members on line with these call to help; pleased to be on line and will be part of the webinar next week.
  • SBA and Treasury have launched an unprecedented public private loan program partnership; $1.5B in loans awarded in four hours since launch today and over 4000 loans made to small businesses and rolling on.
  • Paycheck protection act or PPP is cornerstone, also other tools are now available—if you are a current SBA borrower the CARES ACT provides that SBA will pay principle and interest for six months starting 1 April, economic injury disaster advance up to $1,000 is available, see SBA site for details, amazing amount of relief available now.
  • New lenders who were not previously SBA lenders are invited to join the effort and SBA is streamlining the new lender process to certify those new lenders.
  • is the site with all the information.
  • for additional info. has this specific program guidance.
  • JATF is trying to address various DPA aspects.
  • JAFT is conducting industry illumination looking at existing industry capabilities to ID suppliers and providers, and sub supply networks to balance needs and not drain part of the DIB to the determent of other activity.
  • Mask effort and promising sterilization process that would allow increased supply thru approved reuse; ventilators and other uses like CPAP use, which got put aside but looking at other technical options and alternative applications.
  • Testing kits partnership between Defense Health Agency and DHS is moving along with promising options to increase test kit availability and potential use of DLA supply and distribution network.
  • Tons of discovery learning as this is historically a huge disaster effort that dwarfs everything else in recent history. Industry portal out now from JATF with a direct link to disaster and AFworks SAF AQ site to help ID companies with capacity and innovative ideas and options.
  • Navy passed.
  • Army is passing information to all corners of their community, collecting their issues to work into the discussion, and leadership is engaged.
  • Air Force is engaged at all levels, AF Works outreach lead is intense and now appointing another small business professional to resource AF Works effort. All appreciate the SBA and their work which has helped immensely.
  • DCMA completed mass Mods for FFP progress payments last Friday that will push $3B into the DIB quickly.
  • Big industries are asked to pass quickly down their supply chains; seeing issue with employee walk outs although the company is open and these walk outs are shutting the company down presenting challenges with respect to CARE Act relief.
  • DLA is having issues with getting back to accelerated payments for those in the Defense working capital fund to go from 30 days down to 15 days to pay; working it to allow that to happen which benefits their small businesses in the DLA community;
  • This morning DPC issued a memo on progress payment implementation; signed out a UCA deviation today eliminating the 75% obligation cap for COVID related UCAs only; UCA progress payment CAP of 80% --unfortunately the relief was not in the CARES Act and so that will have to be addressed in the 4th stimulus bill—working with the Hill accordingly.
  • Sec 3610 CARES act provision guidance will be out next week but there is a trick re loans that turn into grants--will need to be considered under a 3610 request to ensure no industry double dipping.
  • I thanked DPC for all their guidance work and we look forward to their Section 3610 guidance to be published next week. I notefd that I passed this AM to OSD the Chambers background with respect to our launch of our bi-lateral international engagement which is including points on essentiality.
  • Tension between keeping the work going but protecting the workforce was discussed. Possible for a DoD SecDef note to the industry workforce thanking them, etc. might be helpful. OSD will amplify and work with PA accordingly.

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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