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Weekly Debrief #49

Aarzu Maknojia, Friday, October 16, 2020

1. Pentagon Officials See 'Troubling' Small Business Decline Since COVID

(Defense News) The Defense Logistics Agency is seeing fewer small businesses in its traditional supplier base competing for contracts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It plans to address the gap in the coming year by pushing contacting officers to directly deal with small businesses and by enforcing agreements with large contractors that they flow work to smaller partners.

2. Pelosi And Mnuchin Keep COVID Talks Alive Even as Deal Remains    

(Politico) Negotiations on the next stimulus package — which have dragged on for months — have intensified in recent days, as the White House and congressional Democrats attempt to clinch a deal despite an agreement seeming unlikely in the waning days before the election. Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke for nearly an hour and a half Thursday afternoon. Most Democrats and Republicans admit that it would be next to impossible to draft and pass a trillion dollar-plus bill in the 19 days before the election.

3. Continuing Resolutions Hurt National Security and Imperil Our Future

(The Hill) Former acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Elaine McCusker writes about how continuing resolutions are bad for national security and are used to thwart federal responsibility of elected officials. She notes, "Continuing resolutions result in lost opportunities for advancing U.S. military competitiveness, the outcome of which is cascading risk to the country and those who serve it."

4. U.S. Moves to Protect Technologies Considered Critical To National Security

(Wall Street Journal) The White House National Security Council released a list of technologies that are critical to the U.S.' national security positions, including military, intelligence, and economic interest. Artificial intelligence, quantum information science, and semiconductors are on this list, among other. An accompanying report noted that China is spending heavily to overtake the U.S.' lead in several top innovation areas.

5. Watchdog to Audit Pentagon's Use Of Covid-19 Funds On Defense Contractors

(The Hill) The Pentagon’s internal watchdog will audit whether the department appropriately used coronavirus relief funding to boost the defense industrial base. The audit aims to determine whether the Pentagon “awarded CARES Act funding to increase the defense industrial base manufacturing capacity in accordance with federal regulations and Defense Production Act authorities.
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