More than 100 national security professionals urge Trump to invoke Defense Production Act

More than 100 national security professionals urge Trump to invoke Defense Production Act
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More than 100 current and former national security professionals, including former Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy Hagel15 former Defense officials back waiver for Austin to serve as Defense secretary The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history John Kirby to reprise role as Pentagon press secretary under Biden MORE, urged President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) and direct U.S. businesses to scale up production of critical medical supplies.

In a letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Hagel and dozens of other former top military brass and members of the national security community called such an action necessary to support hospitals across the country suffering from shortages of masks, ventilators and other supplies.

"The administration this week utilized the DPA on a narrow and limited basis, but America’s public health professionals — as well as doctors and industry workers — continue to sound the alarm, citing the increasingly urgent and dire need for ventilators, masks, testing supplies, and other resources," they wrote.


"Beyond questions of supply, the private sector lacks the ability to process incoming requests, prioritize the most urgent needs, and coordinate with other companies absent more concerted government involvement," the letter continues. "That is precisely what the DPA is designed to do."

Several of the signatories were top members of the Obama administration, including National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, and former United Nations Ambassador Samantha PowerSamantha PowerSamantha Power's Herculean task: Turning a screw with a rubber screwdriver Biden taps career civil servants to acting posts at State, USAID, UN The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE.

Their letter concludes by arguing that using the DPA to expand production of medical supplies is necessary to prevent further deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, which has sickened tens of thousands of Americans.

"If the ultimate objective is to save American lives, there is no alternative to utilizing the DPA immediately and to the fullest extent," they wrote.

The president announced last week that he would invoke the DPA in a limited fashion, though top health experts and congressional Democrats have urged him to use the act beyond its value as leverage in negotiations with private companies.