The National Defense Industrial Association is calling on the leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the defense industrial base.
In March 19 letters, Hawk Carlisle, NDIA's chief executive, said contractors are working without protections for loss of pay due to delays and without help if their supply chain is affected.
"Cashflow is the life blood of companies and is necessary for them to pay their workforce, which, in turn, protects the economy at large," he wrote. "COVID-19 is threatening industry in a way we have not seen since World War II, and relief is needed to ensure the defense industrial base -- made up of approximately 300,000 companies, the majority of which are small businesses -- is supported through this national crisis."
NDIA seeks protections for small businesses, which it says are at the greatest risk. These could include "implementing accelerated payments, tax breaks and credits, and zero interest loans in a timely fashion."
Additionally, NDIA seeks a federal exemption from state and local orders that block facility access for those companies doing needed national defense activities and protections for contractors and their employees if the government shuts down an organization's operations.
"If the government continues to pay its employees, it will also continue to pay contractors," NDIA said.
The association would also like contracting authorities to excuse delays, allow for equitable adjustments of contract prices and make timely payments.
"To minimize uncertainty, we need the assurance that Congress will act to ensure we have a robust defense industrial base on the other side of this crisis," the letter says.