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


November 18, 2020



Spike in COVID has not changed the work force levels in the Pentagon at the moment. Operating with a ceiling of 80% and most likely will drop to a ceiling of 60% next week. Most in DoD continue to work remotely regardless of restrictions. Will get an update on the vaccine progress at each meeting. New PD DPC John Tenaglia taking over from Kim Herrington who just joined the MIBP staff. Big week of engagements for MIBP at various events. Next meeting Wednesday December 2nd.

Vaccine update:

DoD does not have the decision authority nor is DoD driving the decision with respect to use of the DIB for distribution of any vaccines. Goal is to ensure all decision makers are informed with respect to the DIB and ability of the DIB to assist with distribution. This is led by operation warp speed and Ellen Lord within DoD. OSD asking DIB to sit tight until further notice. DoD does not drive vaccine allocation prioritization and DoD has made that clear. DoD recognizes criticality of the DIB. Association comment made that many companies want to support the vaccine distribution effort, have stepped forward to do so, but will sit tight until notified of a need for help. Question specific to DoD DIB allocation planning? OSD responded that no OSD is not driving allocation discussion and that it most likely will be up to States with respect to prioritization of vaccine allocations. When DoD gets an allocation for a base or unit, then a decision will be made on who gets it and most likely not initially the DIB. Much discussion on critical workforce and our experiences this spring where there was inconsistent State level approach to essentiality of the DIB workforce forcing the Administration to engage Governors and Mayors. Some on the call are not confident that the States can solely make the right essentiality discussion. DPC chimed in that discussions have just started this week with OSD P&R as they believe a number of vaccines will be allocated to DoD and working how to address the workforce—no decisions yet, just starting the planning and more to come as decisions are made. DPC tasked to provide updates to this allocation matter at each future meeting. (Observation: I have reported above the conversation. It is clear that the matter of vaccine allocation to DoD is just starting to be discussed and not all of A&S or others in DoD are fully informed.)


Second supplier satisfaction survey released Nov 12th to over 7300 suppliers based on dollar value of business with DLA over past two years. Survey will measure supplier satisfaction with DLA relationship, communication, business growth potential and overall satisfaction. There is a specific question with respect to COVID response by DLA. Over 600 responses to the survey to date. Brief discussion on the DoD PTAP (Procurement Technical Assistance Program)—cooperative agreement awards to non-profits, universities, etc., that will assist free of charge on such matters as CMMC preparedness, basic contracting procedures, etc.


No COVID impact—no international government or state or local government DIB shut- downs. As international markets are shutting down no impact yet to DIB as we saw this past spring. End of October and to date averaging 4 domestic DIB closures per week—all due to COVID 19 positive cases forcing DIB closures. Absenteeism is impacting DIB as well and one major program is averaging 25-30% absent in the workforce which is having a negative impact on program milestones and industry performance under the DoD contract.


Since last call no new issuances of guidance specific to COVID. Up to $21.3B in DoD spending to date in response to COVID 19.


EO 13950 and class deviation status: DoD is working with OMB and others to develop final language for class deviation language and they have failed to reach agreement. DIB input is being considered with a goal of narrowing the applicability of this EO. Deviation guidance should be released within a week by DoD and should mirror the EO language.

Repurposing of Sec 4003 funds to support DIB due to COVID impacts? Working with appropriations staff to augment Sec 3610 funding and waiting for Hill response to OSD’s latest proposal. Outlook does not look good with respect to gaining Hill support. OSD LA did mention that they are discussing a possible extension of Sec 3610 into 2021 and that will be locked one way or the other over the next 48 hours. Also OSD LA is continuing to engage on the funding matter.

Trucking Association: Seeing imports way up; exports remain way down; passenger travel remains at 30% of last year and business travel is not coming back anytime soon. Seeing big increase in cyberattacks targeting shippers.

General discussion: Seeing more hoarding of commercial products as we saw in the Spring and expecting industrial base impacts soon similar to what we saw in the Spring of this year.

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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