Sending Office: Honorable Doug Lamborn
I invite you to join my letter to Secretary Esper regarding the Department of Defense’s efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the Defense Industrial Base (DIB).
The letter praises the Department for their many useful actions taken to date, but more importantly encourages DOD to work closely with state and local officials to ensure continued freedom of movement for DIB employees, allow contracting officers to exercise
their judgment and existing authorities to excusing delays or other issues caused by mitigation efforts when appropriate, provide oversight of where increased funding streams are going, and begin providing weekly updates to Congress on the impacts to the DIB
and how that is affecting our warfighters.
This letter will be sent today. In keeping with most offices’ current guidance regarding letters, we will not be collecting signatures but will provide a list of cosigners. If you wish to sign on to this letter, please notify Andrew Braun
in my office at email@example.com or 202-225-4422. Thank you,
Member of Congress
Re: Mitigating Impacts of COVID-19 on the Defense Industrial Base
Dear Secretary Esper,
We greatly appreciate the actions you and your colleagues in the Department have taken both to combat the spread and effects of COVID-19 as well as provide guidance for protecting the Defense Industrial Base. As Congress acts to bring relief to individual
Americans and many of the industries hardest hit, we encourage you to continue taking additional action within your existing authority to mitigate damage to the only sector charged with protecting our national security. There is much you can do to avoid both
short term and long term damage to the defense industrial base—an industry comprised of approximately 300,000 companies, the majority of which are small businesses.
First, we appreciate the memorandum Under Secretary Lord released on March 20, 2020, and thank all of you for getting this guidance out expeditiously. The designation of the Defense Industrial Base as Essential Critical Infrastructure will ensure vital parts,
equipment, and services continue to flow to our warfighters even in the midst of the disruption caused by COVID-19. This, of course, comes with the understanding that the defense industry will do everything recommended by the CDC and federal and state governments
to ensure the safety of our workforce and their families as we cope with the spread of this virus. As these measures continue, we encourage you to work closely with state and local authorities to ensure these workers maintain access to their facilities, installations,
and work areas even as measures are taken to limit movement around the nation. It is particularly important for the small business in the supply chain to avoid ruinous work stoppages.
We were pleased to learn the Department has taken action to increase progress payment rates, and appreciate your acknowledgement of how vulnerable the defense-industrial base is to adversarial capital during this crisis. As Ms. Herrington’s memo states, it
is imperative that we “ensure companies stay in business without losing their technology.” We applaud these efforts and proactive measures.
We were also pleased with the guidance from the Office of Management and Budget released on March 20, 2020 regarding the management of federal contract performance. In accordance with this guidance, we ask you to direct your contracting authorities to exercise
both their judgment and what authorities they currently have to excuse delays, entitle vendors to an equitable adjustment of the contract price, and still make payments in a timely manner when vendors run into challenges to their contract fulfillment presented
by COVID-19 and mitigation efforts by the federal, state, and local governments. These extraordinary circumstances have the potential to cripple our supply chain, which relies so heavily on specialized small businesses for parts and services. Allowing thousands
of companies to shutter their doors and close down lines during this economic hardship will have devastating long-term implications for our entire national security enterprise.
Oversight will remain tremendously important throughout this disruptive pandemic, and we encourage you and your colleagues to maintain strict oversight of where these dollars are going. For our part, we will do the same, and ask the Department to provide an
overview on how they plan to achieve this. As we move forward, oversight and accountability will remain very important.
Finally, we ask that you work closely with the Congressional Defense Committees to inform us of any gaps in your authority needed to adequately protect and preserve our defense industrial base. To this end, we request you provide recurring weekly updates on
the impact to the defense industrial base. Included in this briefing should be a detailed list of companies with any impacts to their operations as well as the resulting impact to weapon system availability and readiness. Congress is moving forward quickly
to provide the American people and companies relief from the second and third order effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge you to let us know immediately if there is anything we as lawmakers can to do support the Department of Defense and the thousands
of individuals, small business, and companies which make up the industrial base that supports it.
We thank you for your time and attention to these matters, and stand ready to assist however we are able. We intend to work closely with you on this and look forward to your reply.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0