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


June 10, 2020


OSD A&S: Two large areas for discussion - upcoming beta launch of DLA Fed Mall program and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Pentagon is currently under a Phase 0 staffing situation, which equals 80% teleworking and no more than 20% on site at any moment. On June 15th the Pentagon goes to Phase 1 work structure which equals no more than 40% of staff on site at any given moment. Visitor access will remain very limited, screened with temp check, etc. NO ability to "free float" a meeting as visitors would diminish the number of staff allowed in at any moment to maintain no more than 40% on site. P&R review and legal review with respect to DoD requirements for contract personnel PPE is being finalized and should be published soon.

Recent DPA Title 3 awards announced later today- Bethel Industries public private partner contract for an industrial base expansion for soldier armor gear. GE Aviation public private partnership for advanced aviation material development> Spirit Aero award for manufacturing complex structures used across many platforms; Steel America contract award looking at fragility in shaft repair and production; Allied Systems re material handling across shipyards for increased capacity. OSD Small Business: Last week Future of Telework Webinar went well -- see their OSD site for the report. Five Webinars to date have reached over 3,000 small businesses. Wednesday June 24th next event—"small business roadmap to get facility clearance”—allowing more small businesses to enter the DoD small business market. DLA Fed Mall small business corridor—working closely with DLA to launch this program. DLA: Fed Mall Small Business Contingency Corridor—for the provision of nonmedical PPE to select small businesses (masks, shoe covers, hand sanitizer, wipes). Targeted 138 vendors to start the program which OSD/DLA determined to be Fed Mall ready. Working implementation and last night deployed program for code and testing. Unfortunately, finding very few vendors actually willing to support the Fed Mall effort—two going on contract and a few others working to get on contract, but far less than the original 138 identified as interested. DLA will send the flyer to us to pass to industry shortly that explains the program and how to be a supplier and a user of the portal. Chamber asked why companies are not participating: issues of start-up capital sited by most as well as the inability to access government sites absent CAC cards, etc.-- DLA is working to ensure sufficient participation. The site will not open for orders until the supplier matter is corrected and at most there will be a soft opening to manage expectations. DCMA: LTG David Bassett has now taken over DCMA and VADM David Lewis is in the process of retiring; DIB now has only 9 contractors closed; international only 1 closure and that is in the UK; great progress; 13 companies impacted by layoffs, strikes -- primarily in the commercial sector vice DIB. DCMA Baltimore office remains closed pending calming of civil unrest in that City; seeing a decline in number of progress payments for week ending 5 June—dollar value and individual actions all declining; shipment decreases—May report for April data clear reduction in number of deliveries DCMA processed--a reduction of 40% mostly in the aviation sector, engines and combat vehicles. DPC: Sec 3610--adjusting draft policy and working thru the inputs and coordination to get published by end of June; working other policy positions on such issues as PPE and cleaning costs associated with COVID. OSD DPC attended this week’s entrance GAO conference yesterday on Section 3610 implementation during which DPC highlighted key industry concerns and need for additional DoD funding to cover COVID-19 REA claims. DoD IG announced they are starting an audit on Sec 3610 costs. Continued Congressional discussion on Sec 889 implementation. Small Business Offices at Service Level: Army: no update. Navy updates: as of June 3rd $145.8M obligated for COVID small business support; $9.44B obligated overall to date for Navy small business community; various webinars planned in the coming weeks—see their website for details. Air Force: COVID activity--awarded 500 contract actions to 340 small businesses for $188M in obligations specific to COVID. CMMC Lead at OSD AInteragency coordination is underway and the public comment period will begin in July which is a major CMMC milestone> robust team of 8 people in OSD to adjudicate comments as they are posted—60 day open period and OSD will let us all know as soon as they open up for comment. DFAR rule change is expected to go into effect within two weeks post close of the comment period. Working to finalize a couple of RFIs and hope to get the RFIs out soon. Working audit training program to include distance learning; started CMMC pathfinder with MDA and aligning the CMMC program to the pathfinder effort with MDA. Another table top exercise tomorrow; RFIs to role out as soon as they have their first batch of trained auditors; some legislation proposals in the works—grant programs for small businesses to assist their CMMC efforts as part of NDAA 2021. Possible amendment to Sarbanes Oxley and OSD ask to partner as the impact of such an amendment is something they are trying to manage. Associations and Chamber: no major issues raised.

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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