Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., plans to include funding for pandemic response in the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill, Defense News reported Wednesday.
Smith, who serves as the panel’s chairman, said a prior House hearing that he intends to add provisions on the National Defense Authorization Act that will focus on bolstering the production of medical equipment to better prepare the nation for future pandemics.
The proposal will additionally focus on supporting small businesses in the supply chain that manufacture personal protective equipment and seek to drive Department of Defense-funded research into infectious diseases, according to the report.
Smith noted during the hearing that the U.S. military “has a unique ability to lead” domestic production of equipment due to its resources and experience in stockpile management and acquisition.
Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and 2020 Wahs100 Award recipient, also testified during the hearing on the DoD’s $312M effort to produce medical resources and current obstacles to preventing dependence on foreign suppliers.
Details of the House committee’s proposal is slated to become public later this month.