The U.S. Department of Defense recently stated that it expects a three-month slowdown in equipment procurement due to production and supply chain disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, aviation, shipbuilding, and small space launches will be the areas experiencing the greatest delays.
The DoD’s supply chain shows 106 prime contractors currently have their doors closed, with another 427 vendors also not open for business. A UPI report goes on say that over 1,500 contracts have been modified so some suppliers can file invoices at the "higher progress payment rate."
Essentially, this means the government can pay companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin in advance of delivery so they, in turn, can pay their suppliers in hopes of getting things moving.
Lord has also reached out to Mexico, where numerous U.S. aerospace companies have manufacturing facilities, to discuss re-opening several factories there.
As of this recording, the Defense Department has used $500 million of the $1 billion authorized under the CARES Act for protective equipment issued to service members and federal agencies. These funds have been used for decontamination systems used to sterilize up to 80,000 M95 masks per day.
Three million face masks have also been ordered for DoD personnel, with 135,000 expected to be delivered by the end of April.