US Defense Department establishes task force to meet US medical equipment needs to fight Covid-19
The U.S. Defense Department has established a joint task force to deal with daily requests the department is receiving for medical and personal protective equipment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security, and others.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District engineers conduct a facility assessment in Pennsylvania, March 26, 2020. The assessment examines the site's potential as alternate care facilities for COVID-19 patients. (Picture source U.S. DoD)
Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said she has established the Joint Acquisition Task Force to deal with the influx of requests. The task force will prioritize and direct the Defense Production Act authorities and funding in response to the immediate crisis, Lord added. It also is focused on reducing reliance on foreign supply sources, she said.
U.S. DOD (Department of Defense) is also providing portals for good ideas from the industry so that there is one repository where all can go to see what is being offered in terms of technical assistance and manufacturing capability, Lord said.
Last week, U.S. DOD had four, productive "synch" calls with Defense Industry Association leaders and other key associations. The calls provided important feedback that allowed Pentagon leaders to make significant progress on matters such as the critical defense contractor workforce's ability to continue working; ensuring cash flow to the defense industrial base; and getting standardized guidance out to industry, she said.
Lord said her memorandum will help ensure continuity of mission with a full commitment to the safety of the workforce and state and local governments.
Additionally, the director of the U.S. Defense Contracting Management Agency has worked closely with the contracting workforce and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to ensure invoices are continuing to be paid in a timely manner, Lord said.