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 08, 2020


April 8th OSD A&S COVID Conference Call Notes

  • The small business webinar is at 3PM EST tomorrow—the intent is for the businesses to actually call in directly and have robust Q&A.
  • The small business focused call hosted by OSD will be tomorrow at 1pm instead of Friday.
  • DoD focus is to support New York Citty which is a priority.
  • 28,000 national guardsmen deployed to assist in COVID response around the country--up almost 30% from Monday.
  • Army Corps working 25 COVID missions now up from Monday.
  • DoD support is rapidly expanding in response to FEMA.
  • There was an early meeting this week on DPA with DepSecDef—host of issues regarding the use of DPA, roles, options, etc.
  • Hot topics this week: supply chain issues globally; banks and loan delays under CARES act, as well as Section 3610 policy and issues.
  • PPE for essential workers was an issue on calls yesterday and two calls scheduled on this issue at OSD later today.
  • PDUS A&S Al Schaffer issues a COVID summary regularly—key note today is that the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) continues to show signs of degradation, increased industry closures, and diminished supply.
  • Working with Comptroller and Hill staff on future DIB support and funding to come hopefully within a fourth stimulus bill.
  • DIB definition change submitted to DHS CISA by OSD added nuclear energy and foreign allies and partners—this is the DHS CISA revision version 3.0., which is due out this Friday.
  • DHS CISA Director will soon issue an advisory opinion regarding use of ZOOM and ZOOM Government in coordination with DoD CIO. A rumor is going around that some government entity has already banned use of ZOOM and ZOOM Government—so we should expect DHS guidance soon.
  • A conference call was held yesterday with NYC re Javits Center conversion and Comfort ship.
  • New Orleans press brief ongoing at this moment; tomorrow Vice Chairman and Dep SecDef to do a joint press brief tomorrow; SecDef and Chairman planning another Town Hall soon; SecDef will continue to acknowledge the support of the DIB in all his press engagements.
  • JATF’s major line of effort is coordination with White House staff, FEMA, HHS, DHS, etc., and maturing this process.
  • JATF’s primary role is dealing with company submissions thru the portal offering COVID support. Syringes and tech in that area a priority at the moment in addition to all other PPE and medical support.
  • MIBP Deputy Scott Baum remains at FEMA.
  • Progress payment—DCMA is working with DPC to finalize mods to non-DCMA contracts to wrap that up.
  • Money flow down from primes to subs—Lockheed Martin has committed to provide periodic status to DoD of their flow down to vendors in the supply chain and Boeing committed today to do the same and OSD would welcome data commitments from more primes.
  • DIB closures mounting both voluntary and involuntary; voluntary is contrary to essentiality direction; some DIB industries in Washington state mandating their employees wear the N95 mask, which is complicating matters; need industry to be transparent and timely on these closure issues with DoD and DCMA specifically.
  • Sec 3610 guidance did not go out yesterday—hit a snag with some in the legal community, which just wrapped up and OSD DPC will publish memo later today; implementation memo will follow with a FAQ document—so we are tracking three memos on Section 3610.
  • The CARES Act wording has forced the need to publish three docs. NOTE: Boot leg copy of USAF March 17th JAG opinion vice DPC guidance subsequently regarding flexibility on processing claims—Air Force JAG guidance is to be followed within Air Force community as their contracting officers will not follow DPC guidance. If this is creating issues for your business, please provide specific examples of concern to us and we will fleet them up to OSD—these concerns will center around flexibility vice inflexible handling of COVID related REAs.
  • To the issue of needing consistent guidance like in implementing Section 3610—the variety of scenarios and unique matters makes difficult addressing at the OSD level all options and instead they are publishing overall guidance so industry must work with individual contracting officers for each and every contract being executed.
  • Section 3610 effective date for claims will be 31 January but note that OMB has stated the effective date is 27 March which is the date the CARES Act was inacted—OSD has the authority to follow the letter of the CARES Act which they interpret to be effective 31 January and DoD will proceed this way re effective date and COVID impact claims.
  • DPA ratings work—identified 14 categories of items for a DPA rating and poised to implement a FEMA decision accordingly.
  • Working sterilizer contract award and stress within the companies supply chain but looks promising and award is expected soon—this is an approved process for sterilizing used masks.
  • Title 3 applications by industry thru JATF portal will be reviewed this Friday as a first review; subsequent reviews will occur weekly.
  • Lots of industry anxiety about the ability of adjustments and reimbursements, etc., to be handled quickly, subject to the availability of funds which is now another anxiety—need for additional supplemental monies that would be made available for such adjustments.
  • Services confirmed they are looking at holding industry days as virtual events this year; question raised about process for transitioning from one contractor to a new contractor—can the transition time be extended—OSD response is this will be a circumstance by circumstance matter at the contracting officer level but there is flexibility to address this issue.
  • Any attempt by USG to set standards for PPE for industry workforce vice each industry setting their own standard was a question—OSD said no to the extent of COVID protection but needs to be discussed within the government and the issue was taken as an action.

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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