Type: Law Bulletins
Date: 03/20/2020

Defense Contractors Are Part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce

For those defense contractors operating in any state (e.g. California, Pennsylvania) or local government currently under shutdown, the Department of Defense just provided some support to keep their facilities open.

This afternoon, Under Secretary of Defense Ellen Lord issued a memo identifying the Defense Industrial Base as a “critical infrastructure sector,” as described in the Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response, dated March 19, 2020.

Secretary Lord described the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) 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 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 U.S. Military. The memo goes on to describe some of the types of employees critical to the DIB.

This memo should be referenced/included in any request for a facility to remain open sent to a state governor’s office which is not following the DHS Guidance or has issued information contradictory to the DoD’s memo. It also has been suggested that employees required to report for work should provide a copy of this memo to authorities to justify why they are not sheltering in place but are en route to or from work.

Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.

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