Hon. Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment at the Department of Defense (DoD) and four-time Wash100 Award recipient, recently discussed how the defense department has shifted modernization efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Defense News reported on Monday.
“When COVID-19 hit, it shone a spotlight on the concern we had with this fragility and helped us tell the story. Because of another executive order coming in declaring a federal emergency, we no longer had to go through the presidential determination route, which is a bit time consuming, to identify areas where we needed to invest,” Lord said.
As an effect of the pandemic the DoD added more focus to aviation propulsion, where the department has a number of key suppliers who depend on commercial aviation. The department has made a number of awards to aviation companies to increase business and continue to support the war fighter.
COVID-19 has also expedited the modernization of the defense industrial base (DIB) for nuclear and hypersonic weapons, increasing funding and enhancing capabilities. DoD has leveraged the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to track about key companies that the department works with to track deliveries and challenges, as well as support industry partners.
“What we are looking for is whether or not we’re maintaining war-fighter readiness for our production programs, and then relative to modernization, whether we are hitting key milestones relative to development programs. We have seen some slowdowns. We are carefully monitoring, using monthly metrics, where we are. That’s something that I’m actually extremely proud of the team over the last few years — we have developed a very data-driven way of doing business,” Lord added.
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