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


September 15, 2021


This is conducted under Chatham House Rule and not for attribution. Names and affiliations here are for the sake of context and for internal use only.

Industrial Policy:

An email will go out from industrial policy requesting info on your upcoming events. They are working with A&S to work on a request from the secretaries’ office to develop an industry engagement plan. They want to be aware of upcoming opportunities; we will share this email with you when we receive it.

Update on small business competition in the DIB: This is national small business week. Yesterday, Salazar and Kausner met with minority small business owners. Sec Hicks spoke at a Pennsylvania Showcase to Commerce earlier this month and discussed 2 key challenges faced by the US in preparing for the “future fight”: 1) diversifying supply chain suppliers and partners and 2) innovation and modernization for which DOD has launched an Innovation Steering Group. She made note that the DOD is also enhancing its Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), which can provide direct assistance to small businesses.

Industrial Policy is seeking input from small businesses on barriers preventing them from conducting business with DOD; they are looking to identify these challenges and diminish them. DOD will put a notice in the federal register where businesses can feedback about these barriers.


DLA is hosting a webinar on October 6. Industry associations are invited and will discuss the demand forecast for the coming year. This is the 4th consecutive year they’ve hosted.

DLA is using results of last November’s Survey RFIs to reduce the loss of suppliers that they’ve seen over the years.

Update on COVID obligations: since March 1, 2020 they’ve obligated $21.8B of $22B dollars to small business.

Issues have been reported with regard to getting food products into the EU. Frustrated parties are reporting them to DLA, and DLA is working on it. There’s a cable from the State Department stating DLA is exempt from the impacting trade restrictions. If you’re experiencing these issues, please let us or DLA know immediately, and they will work to resolve it.


Industry has been proactive on providing status updates to DCMA. Current status: 0 closed facilities.

Reopens are taking 18.6 days on average.


The President signed an Executive Order on ensuring safety protocols for government contractors. We shared with you all notes from a call with OMB on how that will be implemented. In the next few days, there will be an opportunity opened for businesses in the DIB to provide DOD feedback on implementation strategies for that EA. They appreciate the fact that this represents a significant policy decision to achieve the policy objective of vaccinating significant portion of the American populous making this a top priority for DPC.

Small Business:

Army: Tracking on course to exceed goal of 27.86%. Not on track to meet socioeconomic categories for services due to the inclusion of covid-19 trends in their numbers. There will be a small business seminar and matchmaking event in conjunction with the annual AUSA meeting October 11-13. The small business seminar will be conducted in person on October 12th at 9am-4pm AND will consist of speakers and panels. Small business directors from DLA and Airforce will speaking and they have presentations planned from small business directors across the enterprise. The matchmaking portion will take place for buyers and sellers virtually on October 13 so that they can maximize the number of buyers for industry partners.

Airforce: On track for another $14B to small business for FY21. They will meet all socioeconomic categories with a caveat on women-owned small business, however they hope to close that gap over the next few weeks.

Navy: Not on the call.

Associations and Chamber:

With regard to industrial policy barriers: how is USG looking at the transition from Phase 2 to Phase 3, PPE, and other Covid-19 considerations? Answer: Programs exist for that transition work, they’re also looking at best practices executed by Primes.

Supply chain resiliency task force: industry wants to contribute and apply COVID- 19 lessons learned, is this possible? Answer: Yes.

Any update on accelerated payments? Answer: No. However, that problem is being worked. Unfortunately, their financial position cannot support accelerated payments at this time. They are having discussions with Industrial Policy and Small Business to explain their position and desire to do so, but as of yet there is no change.

One individual made note that for the Afghan airlift, industry was activated for 4th time in history.

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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