Leadership Perspective: Defense Industrial Base and COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Col. Brian Moore
  • Robins Installation Commander

A recent memo from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Dr. Ellen M. Lord, reiterates the importance of our Defense Industrial Base and essential infrastructure workforce. This includes our mission essential workforce here at Robins AFB, required to meet our national security commitments.  As Team Robins battles COVID-19, leaders across the installation have considered mission essential activities and are carefully working to ensure the right teams are able to continue critical work, while protecting the most vulnerable and high risk population.

Out of an abundance of caution, we made the decision to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable and high risk population at Robins by authorizing administrative leave.  The next step is to expect transparency and accountability to build trust in the process, and ensure our enduring workforce will keep the Defense Industrial Base and tomorrow’s readiness strong.  Throughout, commanders, directors and first-line supervisors will be actively engaged in caring for the most vulnerable people, communicating the latest COVID-19 information and articulating the critical importance of our missions in support of National Defense.

For those Team Robins members who are part of the 78th Air Base Wing, our installation support roles and responsibilities are “mission essential.” As a wing, our enduring principle “Relentless Focus on Installation Support,” is being uniquely challenged, but we are up for the task.  Community leaders and mission partners are fully aligned and integrated.  As I have said repeatedly, “We are better together”. 

This is a winning strategy—but everyone must do their part against this formidable COVID adversary, and for our mission. 

Robins Proud!


SUBJECT:   Defense Industrial Base Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
March 20, 2020

The Defense Industrial Base (DIB) is identified as a Critical Infrastructure Sector by the Department of Homeland Security. The DIB sector is defined as the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems/software systems, subsystems, and components or parts, as well as purchased services to meet U.S. Military requirements. The attached Department of Homeland Security memorandum dated March 19, 2020, identifies the essential critical infrastructure workers during COVID-19 response emergency, and provides guidance to State and local officials as they work to protect their communities while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety as well as economic and national security.

Consistent with the President's guidelines: "If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule." The Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce for the DIB includes workers who support the essential products and services required to meet national security commitments to the Federal Government and the U.S. Military. These individuals, include, but are not limited to, aerospace; mechanical and software engineers; manufacturing/production workers; IT support; security staff; security personnel; intelligence support, aircraft and weapon systems mechanics and maintainers; suppliers of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, and critical transportation.  These include personnel working for companies, and their subcontractors, who perform under contract to the Department of Defense providing materials and services to the Department of Defense and government­ owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities.

Companies aligned with the essential critical infrastructure workforce definition are expected to maintain their normal work schedules. Everyone should follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as State and local government officials regarding strategies to limit disease spread. If your contract or subcontract supports the development, production, testing, fielding, or sustainment of our weapon systems/software systems, or the infrastructure to support those activities, are considered Essential Critical Infrastructure. If your efforts support manning, training, equipping, deploying, or supporting our military forces, your work is considered Essential Critical Infrastructure. If you are performing such tasks as providing office supplies, recreational support, or lawn care, they are not considered part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. We will continue to assess the conditions as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Dr. Ellen Lord
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment