Military and civilian personnel of the research, development and acquisition community received guidance Tuesday from the Navy’s acquisition chief to support the Department of Navy’s (DON) ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition (ASN (RD&A)) James F. Geurts issued a March 31 memorandum to ensure we are leveraging the full capabilities of the RDT&E enterprise in support of the national emergency, while also maintaining mission. The memo states RD&A efforts will align with the Department of Defense Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) as part of a greater collaborative effort to answer the Federal Emergency Management Activity’s (FEMA) request for assistance to control the virus.
“We've got Navy and Marine Corps teams directly supporting FEMA efforts, said Geurts. “They are ensuring we’re leveraging any expertise or capacity we have to help with them directly.
Navy has a full time lead member that is a point person on the JATF to take any requirements or needs they have and then flow those out across the Department of the Navy. So amongst everything else we're doing, we also have great work we're doing to lend our hand anywhere we can to support the larger whole of government effort.”
The memo also states that activities providing support to FEMA should track the cost of time, material, equipment and supplies, plus follow JATF guidance to stay aligned to the Department of Defense response.
While the memo provides the RD&A community a clear call to action in the midst of a global crisis, Navy personnel across the enterprise have already seized the initiative. Head of Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. Tom Moore, said his team has made a concerted effort to address the most pressing health needs of the American populace while still focused on NAVSEA’s role in deterring conflict and winning wars.
“The entire Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Enterprise is committed to executing our critical national security mission while supporting local COVID-19 response efforts,” said Moore, citing efforts by NAVSEA shipyards, warfare centers, and maintenance facilities that have led to the production and development of facemasks, hand sanitizer, and low-cost ventilators.
“From Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine to Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division in Keyport, Washington to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Florida, our commands have worked tirelessly so the Department of the Navy can conduct mission and support local efforts to combat COVID-19,” Moore added.
As stated in the memo Geurts authorized all activities to support requests from FEMA, but to work them through the JATF.
“Our country is in a National Emergency so the Naval Research, Development and Acquisition community must engage accordingly. Effective and timely response to our communities must be prioritized to the extent the law permits,” Geurts said.