Senators released details of the $2 trillion coronavirus aid package on Wednesday, outlining significant financial assistance for the Defense Health Program and defense industrial base. Here is a quick rundown of what DOD’s $10.5 billion portion of the emergency stimulus package will fund.
The largest portion of defense funding will provide over $3.8 billion to the Defense Health Program. The majority of the budget, $3.4 billion will go towards operations and maintenance; with $415 million allocated towards research and development to prevent and prepare treatment options for COVID-19.
Defense Industrial Base
The defense industrial base sector will receive $2.45 billion and fund two primary sources. First, $1 billion will fund Defense Production Act services “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.” President Donald Trump has yet to invoke the 1950 Defense Production Act, a federal law giving the government direct authority over industrial production during emergencies.
Second, $1.45 billion will go towards Defense Working Capital Funds (DWCF). Senators did not outline the specifics of this funding, although DWCF often bolsters financial operations related to Pentagon commercial businesses activities (e.g. supply and storage, transportation, etc.).
Other Provisions: Service Maintenance, Tricare, VA
The stimulus also provides $1.2 billion for National Guard Personnel of both the Army and Air Force. Over 8,000 National Guardsman have been deployed in every U.S. state and three U.S. territories. Nearly $2 billion will be allocated between all four services, as well as defense-side, for operations and maintenance to respond to coronavirus.
$1.1 billion is set to fund Tricare, DOD’s government health insurance program. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which has confirmed 365 COVID-19 cases, is set to receive $19.6 billion. Additionally the VA would receive over $3 billion to bolster IT operations and telehealth services.
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Photo by Evan Vucci // AP