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AFA asks treasury to reopen $17b application

May 6th, 2020

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin


Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20220

RE: Definition of Businesses Critical to Maintaining National Security

Dear Secretary Mnuchin:

We urge you to re-open the application for “businesses critical to maintaining national security” and revise the Department’s definition of eligibility for assistance under the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136). Further, we request that the Department provide specific instructions for submitting a request for recommendation and certification by the U.S. Secretary of Defense or the Director of National Intelligence, as detailed in the loan application form released April 23, 2020.

The CARES Act made available $17 billion for loans to businesses critical to maintaining national security. These businesses – including many aerospace defense sub-contractors – do not have adequate economic relief in the form of loans or guarantees otherwise available through the CARES Act. Many are ineligible for the overburdened Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Further, they cannot seek recourse under the other targeted sector loan programs, including passenger airlines and cargo air carriers, repair stations, and ticket agents.

At the time of enactment, Congressional intent was clear. Businesses critical to maintaining national security were to include major defense suppliers as well as their supply chains, regardless of whether individual suppliers supported any specific defense program. The definition released by the Treasury Department is far too restrictive and limited applicants to those under a “DX” priority rated contract or a valid Top-Secret facility security clearance. All other businesses supporting national security under a DPAS rated order were dissuaded from applying for the relief they were promised.

In a March 20, 2020 letter to the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), Under Secretary of Defense Ellen M. Lord defined the DIB and requested support and dedication from DIB employers in these trying times to ensure the security of the nation. Specifically, she stated:

“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.

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.’

Companies aligned with the essential critical infrastructure workforce definition are expected to maintain their normal work schedules.”

Like many others across our nation, DIB businesses in Washington state have remained at work. These businesses continue to produce critical components under defense contracts and keep employees working, with no federal relief to date. Therefore, we ask that you re-open the application for $17 billion in federal funds for businesses critical to maintaining national security with a revised definition of eligibility, making clear to the nation’s defense manufacturers that they were not forgotten in the CARES Act.

Thank you for your consideration. Please direct any questions to or (206) 309-2464.


Emily Wittman

President & CEO Aerospace Futures Alliance

Dave Dickson, Chair

AFA Board of Directors

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

CC: The Honorable Mark Esper

The Honorable Andrew Hallman

The Honorable Patty Murray

The Honorable Maria Cantwell

The Honorable Suzan DelBene

The Honorable Rick Larsen

The Honorable Jamie Hererra Beutler

The Honorable Dan Newhouse

The Honorable Cathy McMorris Rodgers

The Honorable Derek Kilmer

The Honorable Pramila Jayapal

The Honorable Kim Schrier

The Honorable Adam Smith

The Honorable Denny Heck

2020_05_06 to Treasury (Mnuchin) re Appl
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