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Ellen Lord: Pentagon Anticipates Three-Month Delay Across Major Acquisition Programs

Jeff Brody
Ellen Lord

Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment at the Department of Defense and a 2020 Wash100 awardee, said DoD expects to see contract delays of up to three months across Major Defense Acquisition Programs as contractors deal with challenges in the supply chain due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Business Journal reported Monday.

“Right now, there isn’t any specific Covid penalty that we see for a specific program, however, we do anticipate a three-month slowdown at slower rates in terms of execution than we saw before,” Lord said Monday at a press conference. “We are just now looking at key milestones that might be impacted.”

Lord offered updates on increased progress payment rates for contractors and commended Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) for their commitment to ensuring cash flow moves quickly to small businesses.

“Based on submitted invoices, we expect payments at the higher progress payment rate to start this week, helping provide $3 billion in increased cash flow to industry,” she said. “We are hoping for similar public announcements from other major primes.”

She said shipbuilding, small space launch and aviation are the three areas of concern and cited DoD’s efforts in response to COVID-19.

“We follow very carefully where the highest number of cases are throughout the country, and we look at the defense industrial base, where they are located,” Lord said. “So we try to anticipate the problems and work with the companies to keep going to the greatest degree possible.”

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