Pentagon gives $126M to 3M to boost mask production

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The Defense Department has given 3M a $126 million contract to boost production of N95 respirator masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

Under the contract, 3M will speed up the existing delivery schedule “and increase N95 respirator production by at least 312 million annually within the next twelve months,” Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said in a statement.

“This increased production/industrial capacity will continue to ensure a sustainable supply chain of N95 respirators and resupply the Strategic National Stockpile in response to the increased national demand caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.”

The deal — made in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services and funded through the CARES Act — will have 3M increase its mask production by 26 million per month starting in October. To do so, the company will expand its facility in Aberdeen, S.D., and also perform initial production in Wisconsin. 

States are struggling to keep hospitals and medical centers stocked with personal protective equipment needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The Pentagon has highlighted its efforts to provide N95 masks to the country, last month awarding a $133 million contract using its authority under the Defense Production Act. 3M received $76 million of that contract, which was also shared with Honeywell and Owens & Minor.

The arrangement at the time was meant to have 13 million masks delivered each month for three months.

The Defense Department in April also announced a $415 million contract for 60 machines that will decontaminate N95 masks, stretching the use of the scarce personal protective equipment. 

Tags contract Coronavirus Equipment Masks N95 Pentagon PPE

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