Posted inMilitary

Senate approves coronavirus relief bill with $10.5 billion for Defense Department

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes $2.4 billion to shore up the defense industrial base
Pentagon Press Secretary Alyssa Farah and Joint Staff Surgeon Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs brief the press on the department’s COVID-19 response March 25, 2020. Credit: DoD

WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a $2 trillion emergency relief package to inject cash into the U.S. economy that includes $10.5 billion for the Defense Department — $2.4 billion of which is to help blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on DoD suppliers.

The Senate late Wednesday passed 96-0 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A House voice vote is expected on Friday.

According to a summary of the bill released March 25 by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the $10.5 billion allocated for DoD includes:

  • $1.45 billion to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on production lines, supply chain, military depots, and labs.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to increase access to materials necessary for national security and pandemic recovery.
  • $1.8 billion for military health care costs and to procure additional medical equipment; a
  • $1.6 billion for the expansion of military treatment facilities
  • $415 million for the development of vaccines, anti-virals, lab operations and the procurement of diagnostic tests.
  • $627.8 million for the procurement of pharmaceuticals and physical protection equipment.
  • $1.5 billion for emergency deployments of the National Guard.
  • $713.6 million for medical supplies and physical protection equipment on installations and ships.
  • $300 million to procure IT equipment and increase bandwidth
  • $1.1 billion to cover shortfalls in defense private sector care
  • $20 million for the office of the Inspector General for additional personnel to conduct audits and evaluations of COVID-19 emergency funding

The bill allows the president to extend the service of senior military officials whose appointments are scheduled to expire during COVID-19 crisis to ensure continuity of senior military leadership.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly...