Is Coronavirus Affecting the DoD and CMMC?
As the spread of COVID-19 (an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus) continues, many are turning to the DoD with questions about how it will affect their day to day.
Will COVID-19 affect the DoD’s Rollout of CMMC?
The simple answer is leaning more towards no.
At this time, the DoD’s official stance is that training is to begin in mid-April. Chief Information Security Officer for DoD Acquisitions Katie Arrington told reporters that the training is to be held remotely using a variety of different channels (webinars, livestreams, teleconferences, etc.) which doesn’t defer from the DoD’s original plan to conduct most of its C3PAO training online. Arrington was firm in saying that the DoD wants to stay on schedule with the rollout while keeping the Coronavirus and safe practices used to combat it in mind.
How is COVID-19 affecting the DIB?
The Defense Industrial Base as a whole is being held to expectations to keep design, production, delivery, and maintenance in motion. Ellen Lord (Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment) issued a memo on Friday Mar. 20th stating that the DIB contractors are identified as Critical Infrastructure Sector by the Department of Homeland Security. With this in mind, the contractors are expected to keep normal hours and continuing to keep our nation’s security as a top priority.
This isn’t without its fair share of limitation, though, and the Pentagon is aware of that. In an effort to increase cashflow to its small and large business contractors, the Pentagon has increased progress payment rates and is actively working to expedite payments and modify contracts.
How the DoD is Assisting
While the various branches of the Department are not fit to treat the Coronavirus, they can assist hospitals and hot spots that are being overwhelmed by treating those not infected with COVID-19 and freeing up care facilities that are equipped to do so. The Navy is doing just that. Jonathan Rath Hoffman, Assistant to the Defense Secretary for Public Affairs went on record Wednesday, Mar. 18th saying that the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort were beginning preparations for deployment in major cities that needed space freed up in local hospitals. New York has been determined as one of the cities that will receive this aid (via the USNS Comfort), while Los Angeles will house the USNS Mercy.
Similarly, the United States Undersecretary to the Army, Ryan McCarthy, said on Tuesday, Mar. 24th that he has ordered three field hospital units be deployed in Washington state and New York. Typically, the units are equipped to remediate sick and wounded soldiers, but they will be deployed to help clear hospital and care facilities of space for Coronavirus victims.
The Airforce has been assisting in a different way. On Monday, Mar. 23rd, five hundred thousand COVID-19 testing kits were flown from Italy to Memphis, TN. The kits included swabs to collect samples and a liquid test to place the used swabs in. These tests are being deployed and the Airforce has plans to continue the distribution of test kits in the upcoming days.