Navy acquisition chief says the branch needs COVID-19 relief funds to avoid cuts

Aug. 13 (UPI) — The Navy will need to make cuts to procurement and modernization efforts if it doesn’t get relief funding to cover acquisition costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Navy acquisition chief James Geurts.

Guerts told reporters Wednesday that the Navy needs the relief funding to sustain a ready force.

According to a memo obtained by Inside Defense last week, the Pentagon is asking Congress for $11 billion in emergency supplemental funding to cover cost increases incurred between March 15 and June 15 “because of inefficiencies caused by COVID-19.”

The memo requests nearly $4.7 billion for the Navy, which Guerts described on Wednesday as “a good estimate” for the Navy’s slice of acquisition relief funding.

The Navy attributes the increased costs to a variety of factors, including remote work and purchasing personal protective equipment. The Navy has also adjusted assessments throughout the branch based on shipyard and program performance, Guerts said.

In April, Guerts said the Navy would award some contracts earlier than planned in an effort to offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the defense industry.

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