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Weekly Debrief #46

Aarzu Maknojia, Friday, September 25, 2020

1. Pentagon Used Taxpayer Money Meant for Masks And Swabs To Make Jet Engine Parts And Body Armor

(Washington Post) Earlier this week, this article was released discussing the $1 billion of additional funding that Congress appropriated to the Defense Production Act as part of CARES Act funding. It insinuated that the Pentagon mismanaged these funds by using them as a "bailout" instead of for the increased production of masks and swabs. Read the Pentagon's response here.

2. Pelosi Preps New Coronavirus Relief Plan Amid Stalled Talks

(Politico) Speaker Nancy Pelosi has directed her committee chairs to assemble a scaled back coronavirus relief package as a basis for potential talks with the White House. It is likely to be about $2.4 trillion and is expected to include relief funds for airlines and restaurants. The Democrats and Republicans have been at a standstill over the last few months over issues including the overall price tag of the relief as well as the inclusion of defense funding.

3. House Passes Stopgap Funding Bill Shortly After Bipartisan Deal

(Roll Call) Earlier this week, on a vote of 359-57, the House passed a stopgap funding measure needed to avert a partial government shutdown. It will allow the government to continue being funded at current spending levels until December 11. At that point, Congress will either need to pass the appropriations bills for FY2021 or will need to pass another continuing resolution.

4. Three Steps To Safeguard Our National Security Supply Chain

(The Hill) The author argues that the DoD 1) needs to increase the level of competition for next-generation technology, 2) needs to support higher profit margins to create greater incentives for R&D and reduce development time, and 3) should financially support cutting-edge technology based on leading scientific research and development.

5. Pentagon Acquisition Boss Talks Industry, Mergers, And Coronavirus

(Defense News) Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment spoke at this year's Defense News Conference, touching on a number of issues affecting the DoD. She answered questions regarding 1) COVID-19 and its effect on the defense industry and the defense industrial base, 2) criticisms of the DoD's request for billions of dollars for Section 3610 reimbursements, 3) the health of the defense industrial base and the strength of the supply chain, 4) Section 889, 5) the recent increase in mergers and acquisitions. This is a valuable interview to learn more about the DoD's perspectives and approach to these critical issues.
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