On May 20, 2021, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Andrea Palm signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to continue the agencies’ partnership in defeating COVID-19 and preparing for future public health emergencies.
The MOU establishes the framework under which the Department of Defense (DoD) will continue to support HHS with acquisition efforts to expand domestic industrial capacity of health and medical resources; procure diagnostics and medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile; and accelerate the development, manufacture, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
Under the MOU, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, through the Defense Assisted Acquisition Cell (DA2) will review assisted acquisition requests from HHS, determine which acquisition authorities and resources are best suited to support the efforts, and execute agreements with industry to fulfill the defined requirements.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DoD has executed over $26 billion on behalf of HHS to meet the needs of the Nation. In accordance with the Secretary of Defense’s priorities, the Department will continue to act boldly to support interagency efforts to defeat COVID-19. This MOU reinforces DoD support to HHS in furthering that mission, and strengthens the partnership between agencies.
Most recently under this partnership, DoD awarded three agreements totaling $650 million to Clinical Enterprise, Inc. (Eurofins), PerkinElmer Health Sciences, Inc., and Battelle Memorial Institute. These awards will support the government’s efforts to expand domestic COVID-19 testing for K-8 schools, underserved populations, and congregate settings such as homeless shelters. The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) led this acquisition effort, in coordination with Army Contracting Command – Rock Island (ACC-RI) and DA2.
The MOU will remain in place until at least September 30, 2023.