Air Force expedites N95 mask production contract awards
ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — The Department of the Air Force rapidly executed three contract awards worth $133 million with 3M, Honeywell and O&M Halyard to increase domestic N95 production dedicating long-term mask capacity for national demand. These are the first Department of Defense funded awards utilizing Defense Production Act Title III authorities in response to COVID-19.
The Department’s Air Force Research Lab DPA Title III Executive Program Office, in coordination with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Office for Industrial Policy and Department of the Air Force’s Acquisition COVID-19 Task Force, or DAF-ACT, finalized contracts within five days of White House Task Force approval. 3M received $76 million, O&M Halyard received $29 million and Honeywell received $27.4 million for facility and machinery conversion to boost industrial capability and collectively produce 39 million masks in the next 90 days.
“As the Department of Defense’s Executive Agent for the Defense Production Act, increasing N95 production is priority one,” said Dr. Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “This week’s award of $133 million to 3M, Honeywell and O&M Halyard will add around 13 million N95 masks per month to our nation’s supply in the near term. I sincerely thank our program team and each company for closing on this critical deal quickly.”
Collectively, this quick-turn effort is postured to accelerate N95 mask delivery to 141 million in the next six months and increase the total production to 450 million per year. This kind of rapid acquisition and scaling is possible because of previous acquisition delegation of authority and contracting revamp to match the speed of relevance.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team — especially the Air Force Research Laboratory contracting officers — who used their expertise to rapidly coordinate and secure these contracts. This is just one example of many critical acquisition efforts that the DAF-ACT is proud to support as part of a whole-of-government response,” said Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, DAF-ACT director.