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FEMA Shifts Some Virus Supply Buying Power to Defense Department

May 11, 2020, 5:51 PM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is handing over some of its responsibilities for acquiring Covid-19 supplies to the Defense Logistics Agency, a subset of the Defense Department, a FEMA spokesperson said.

The Defense Logistics Agency will coordinate longer-term purchasing of supplies, including personal protective equipment, the spokesperson said. That agency manages the supply chain for the entire U.S. military and has extensive experience in the area.

FEMA will continue to lead the federal response to the coronavirus crisis, the spokesperson said.

FEMA first indicated the move in an update to a General Services Administration webpage, in which it said it was withdrawing a contract solicitation for personal protective equipment, effective May 11, “due to an Interagency transition of mission responsibility from FEMA to the Defense Logistics Agency.”

Transferring Duties

Bloomberg previously reported that FEMA was in discussions to move out of its role as the lead agency in the federal Covid-19 response. FEMA’s latest action is the first public indication that it’s handing over some of its responsibilities to other agencies.

The Defense Department has already been working with the Department of Health and Human Services to equip the Strategic National Stockpile as necessary.

The Defense Logistics Agency referred a request for comment to the Defense Department, which didn’t immediately respond.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at sstein@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Alexis Kramer at akramer@bloomberglaw.com