Department of Defense Gets Approval to increase N95 Mask production to 39 million in coming 90 Days
The Department of Defense (DoD) made an announcement today related to the ongoing strains placed upon America’s healthcare systems. Due to the continuing Novel Coronavirus Pandemic the production of N95 masks would increase to 39 million through the first application of the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title 3 COVID-19 Project.
As per the Department of Defense spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, the DoD received approval from the White House COVID-19 Task Force to execute the first DPA Title 3 project responding to COVID-19. The okay was given on the evening of April 10. A $133 million investment would be applied to this project with the names of the involved companies to be announced once the contract was awarded.
President Trump has been facing quite a bit of criticism amid pleas from both the New York State and City leaders as well as from other leaders across the country. Requests for critically needed PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) have been made continuously since the crisis began.
One very recent statement, on April 9, from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio highlighted the need for other needed items such as surgical gowns and ventilators, “…surgical gowns, which is still an area we’re struggling with and we’re trying to use, you know, some backup items for that. But this week we can get through with ventilators and PPEs. Next week, I’m hopeful, but we don’t have everything we need yet. That’s — and this is after we’ve gotten a little bit of relief. We expected it to be almost day to day, just seeing if we get enough to get through a day. It reminds us we need a lot more and a lot of other parts of America will need a lot more. So we still have not seen the White House using the Defense Production Act as fully as they could. We still don’t see the mobilization of the military to help get supplies out. I’ve talked to President Trump and look, I’ve tried to work with him. But I have not seen from the White House, the fuller mobilization we need to truly address this. It could be with us for months and months and in a lot of parts of the country, it’s only just beginning. So, our country’s still not in the state of mobilization for the actual war we’re fighting right now.”
On Friday, April 10, NY Governor Cuomo made mention of the DPA and how it could be used in the production of much needed COVID-19 tests, “New York State offers to be a full partner with the federal government. We do have the largest number of cases in New York. New York is an economic engine. I can’t do it as a state. If I had a Defense Production Act in the state, I would use it. I would use it. I don’t have that tool, the federal government does. Any way we can partner with the federal government to get these tests up to scale as quickly as possible, we are all in. I like to operate as a coalition with New Jersey and Connecticut because we are the tri-state area. I have spoken to Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont of Connecticut. They will join in a testing coalition. So, I ask the federal government if you are willing to step in and use the federal powers, New York State and New Jersey and Connecticut would partner with the federal government. And let’s get the testing up to scale quickly so we can start to build that bridge to reopening the economy.”
Keep in mind that the above quotes were not the first of their kind to come from both leaders. Mayor de Blasio, especially, has been raising the alarm on this subject for weeks now.
Recently, the DPA was used to require the company, 3M to “prioritize orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for their N95 respirators.”
You can read a related press release from the company here…
As borrowed from the DoD Industrial Policy page:
The Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III program is one of three active authorities in the Defense Production Act, which was first signed into law in 1950 and was last renewed in 2018. The Title III program provides the President broad authority to ensure the timely availability of essential domestic industrial resources to support national defense and homeland security requirements through the use of highly tailored economic incentives. Specifically, the program is designed to create, maintain, protect, expand, or restore domestic industrial base capabilities.
As per the Heritage Foundation’s page dedicated to the subject:
Title III of the act establishes the president’s authority to invest in specific industries. The goal of Title III is to expand the domestic capacity and supply for defense-related materials. If triggered here to fight the virus, one would expect the administration to direct investment into industries directly related to fighting the virus.