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


May 04, 2020


May 4th OSD A&S COVID Conference Call Notes:

  • Joint Staff joined today’s meeting for the first time.
  • OSD DASD will be interviewed this afternoon to discuss the work of this group in depth for the first time.
  • Industrial Base Council (IBC) lead by Hon. Ellen Lord meeting last Friday 5th focused on wave 2 round of investments in the supply base as brought forward by the Service Acquisition Executives -- part of the IBC meeting was on classified work and those in industry who support classified DoD work.
  • DoD is taking on an expanded role for the Administration regarding various procurements in support of COVID and HHS.
  • White House is in a warp speed effort to develop a vaccine.
  • Mission assignments and industrial expansion interagency work plan with HHS was approved late Friday so more to come on the plan and how industry will eventually help.
  • $4M of N95 masks, 14.4M each nonsurgical masks, 92M sets of surgical gloves, 8K ventilators and more provided by DLA to date in response to the pandemic.
  • SecDef engaging more directly with individual industry partners on COVID issues.
  • CIO memo we discussed Friday will be provided to us today.
  • IBC meetings really making a difference and if industry has an issue with respect to fragility, risk of bankruptcy, etc., due to the pandemic work with your Service Department Acquisition lead to have your specific corporate issue added to the IBC agenda.
  • $17B Treasury Loan program—seeking any thoughts from industry on this loan program—much discussion about the challenges for industry to comply with the terms and conditions for this loan program thus that is why we believe on 20 companies applied—OSD will convey our concerns with the loan program to Treasury in a meeting this week.
  • Discussion regarding frequency of meetings—for us to send a one on one email to OSD with a recommendation.


  • Current strategy is to get stuff quickly to point of need and that work continues under DPA Title 3 in partnership with HHS and FEMA.
  • They are shifting the majority of task force effort to the future COVID fight, COVID R&D, domestic industry strategy, etc.


  • DIB stats—as of Friday, 19 reopened in one day; total closed as of COB Friday is 81; cumulative over the past seven weeks 156 have reopened; down to 6 closures in Mexico to date--3 reopened in Mexico on Friday.
  • Various payment stats are showing continued improvement in payment timelines and significant funds continuing to be pushed out to primes and subs.


  • Published a memo on Friday for timeline to develop Sec 3610 reimbursement policy—developing the memo this week and early next week and then will release in two weeks to industry for comment prior to final publication.
  • This timeline has the full support of the Services.


  • 393 suppliers closed, which is down significantly over the past week; of those closed today many are closed due to state and local restriction--so expect many of them will open soon as States try to get back to work.


  • Pulled back to bi-weekly meetings with industry reps for air, shipping, rail and truckers which is a positive.

OSD Small Business:

  • Small business loan program (PPP) has been working more smoothly and for those who are waiting to hear you should hear within the week from the SBA.


  • Discussion about looking beyond COVID 19 crisis and what should we be planning for and could this type of group meeting be helpful and thus continue? OSD agreed to think about this and loop back at next meeting.
  • Continued challenges with consistency in PPE products with respect to government workers vs industry workforce in the same complex. Consistency is needed in PPE requirements and this must be addressed to protect all. OSD has met on these issues and are discussing how best to progress.
  • On the issue of PPE—Hon Lord has asked her team and industry to determine what are the needs.
  • How much does the DIB need and what is needed? OSD cannot understand the requirement from the DIB.
  • The other industry question is once contractors are called back to USG installations will the USG provide those workers PPE or will the contractor need to do so and what are the standards? Generally, five different categories of PPE dependent upon the actual work being conducted by either USG or contractors.
  • I reinforced the need to now focus these meetings on reopening, standards for doing so, etc., and the critical need for the DIB and DoD to partner closely on what reopening looks like.

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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