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Pentagon Should Mass Produce Virus Tests, Rep. Adam Smith Says

April 7, 2020, 6:14 PM

The U.S. Defense Dept is best at “mass production,” and should assist with making the coronavirus tests, according to Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

  • Smith says he’s looking at the upcoming fiscal 2021 defense authorization bill to include provisions that would ramp up production of the test swabs within the Defense Dept; says it’s a long-term need at least until a vaccine can be developed and will necessary to test en masse over the next several months
  • Smith, who calls this is a force protection issue, says he aims to tap the Defense Dept’s “innovative production capacity”
  • Smith says he’s talking to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about including funding in next virus rescue package to ramp up the Pentagon’s response to the epidemic as well as the industrial base
  • The chairman also tells reporters on a telephone conference he’s considering provisions to shore up the defense industrial base in aftermath of epidemic; in particular, the medium and small supplier chain will be “massively stressed” in months ahead
  • NOTE: Cmte leaders plan have a draft of the defense bill by May 1

To contact the reporter on this story:
Roxana Tiron in Washington at rtiron@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Kasia Klimasinska at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net

Kim Chipman

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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