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


July 21, 2021


OSD Overview: Director for Industry engagement kicked off the meeting today. OSD Small Business Director update on the advisory from NSA and FBI related to concerns USG has with China and their cyber activity. Earlier in the week the U.S. and Allies exposed more evidence of the threat in cyber by China—unprecedented group of Allies and EU members aligned, and the first time NATO has condemned PRC behavior. Advice was provided for technical approaches to address these cyber threats from the PRC. Specifically, the impact upon Microsoft server software and because of this advisory, the agenda today includes a discussion on a new program (Project Spectrum) at the Pentagon and a follow up email from OSD will be provided shortly with further information and advice. Slides for the Spectrum program have been provided which will be provided to industry by the Chamber and Associations.

Project Spectrum Overview: This program established in response to direction from NDAA 2019 as well as additional requirements published in NDAA 2021. Assisting small businesses in particular, but can support larger companies, with a focus on supply chains supporting our defense industrial base (DIB). Projectspectrum.IO is the OSD website for additional information on the program and how to join. OSD was asked if they are coordinating with DCSA—yes they are. CMMC status and coordination was asked as well—Project Spectrum deferred to CMMC program office. OSD was asked if Project Spectrum was only for the DIB and related supply chain or could other non-DIB companies join—OSD confirmed that although the focus is the DIB and associated supply chain, they welcome other small businesses joining as well.

DLA: up to $3.79B in contracts awarded directly supporting COVID, of which $2.1B awarded to small businesses thus far this year.

DCMA: DIB impacts—as of today 0 companies impacted by COVID 19; monitoring the Delta variant and potential future impact.

DPC: working with Administration on priorities and policy initiatives related to various executive orders including implementation details specific to made in America—White House issuance is expected next week on Made in America. Details could not be shared during this call.

Small Business: Army—planning AUSA October 12-13 as an in-person event and registration opened 16 July for this event. Air Force--$52B awarded to date and of that $10B was awarded to small businesses to date. This number reflects all awards, not just contracts specific to COVID.

Industry: No issues raised.

Additional Insights from DAEC:

Confirmations Pending:

Frank Kendall, Secretary of the Airforce—a few holds are being worked. Frank two weeks ago expected confirmation by this month’s end. I give it 50-50 assuming Congress recesses for August. If they remain in session it may happen sooner than later.

Heidi Shyu, OUSD R&E and DAEC Advisory Board Member—no holds and in discussions with Heidi two weeks ago she expected confirmation by the end of this month. I give it better than 50% chance. Once confirmed and in place for a couple of months, Heidi has welcomed the Chamber convening industries to discuss her vision, objectives specific to future innovation and the need for collaboration across all communities.

Recent Nominations:

Alan Estevez as Commerce Under Secretary for Industry and Security—friend of DAEC, we worked together closely for several years and we are excited for Alan. We have been in contact, and he is looking forward to the posting and recognizes the challenges that await. He is a friend of industry and thus we expect his door to be open.

Andrew Hunter as the USAF Acquisition Executive—like Alan, Andrew and I have worked together for a number years to include partnering on key issues while he has been on Kath Hicks team at CSIS. We are excited for Andrew and the USAF.

Gabe Camarillo as the Undersecretary of the US Army—like the above, Gabe and I worked together while I was DASA DEC and he was the PD to Heidi Shyu while she served as the Army Acquisition Executive during the Obama years. Gabe was subsequently appointed as the USAF Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs at the end of the Obama Administration. Gabe has spent the last few years at SAIC as SVP for Army Programs.

OSD A&S Situation: Mike Brown has with-drawn and the Administration is not discussing who might be nominated next. Stacy Cummings, who has been acting in the capacity of the USD A&S will be leaving the Pentagon in the coming weeks for NATO—U.S. Mission to NATO confirmed that she will be the next GM NSPA. Greg Kausner continues to act in the capacity of the PDUSD A&S and confirmed with me that an announcement on who will be acting USD A&S post Stacy will be made next week.

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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