McCarthy: Army is grateful for manufacturers' response

By Ashley Tressel / March 26, 2020 at 2:38 PM

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said today service leaders appreciate how defense manufacturers have stepped up amidst the COVID-19 outbreak to keep production moving.

“We have many contractors that are still reporting to work, and they’re bending metal and continuing to progress,” McCarthy said during a press conference in the Pentagon. “What we’re doing is working with the states, because it really is a state-by-state related issue. If there’s a manufacturer in Florida that has a footprint or has parts of their manufacturing division in New York or Connecticut and others, you have to work through some of these issues [like] their employees traveling from state to state.

He said Army acquisition executive Bruce Jette and Army Futures Command Gen. Mike Murray have already done an assessment of the industrial base.

Jette on Tuesday sent a letter to the defense contractors thanking them for their support and asking them to continuously communicate with the service's “program and contracting offices regarding the challenges faced by this new environment.”

The Pentagon’s acquisition chief also issued an advisory memo deeming the defense industrial base an “essential” part of the U.S. workforce during the pandemic, while the department has increased cash flow to contractors.

Additionally, the Army will conduct a readiness assessment in the next few weeks to gauge the effects of canceled training exercises, Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said at today's briefing.

“Ideally, we want to get people back to doing the missions that they need to do,” he said. “They’re still able to train at the lower levels, exercising the proper procedures to limit exposure, but we’re certainly going to be doing assessments as we move forward.”