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Monday, March 8th, 2021

Lawmakers seek information on DoD’s role in Operation Warp Speed

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A group of lawmakers is requesting the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) to conduct a hearing regarding the Department of Defense’s (DOD) role in Operation Warp Speed (OWS).

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), members of the SASC), forwarded correspondence to SASC Chairman Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK) and SASC Ranking Member Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) regarding the matter.

OWS has been categorized as the Trump administration’s public-private partnership seeking to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

“SASC has yet to hold a public hearing dedicated exclusively to DoD’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic … Given the outsized role DoD appears to be playing in vaccine development and distribution, we request the SASC immediately hold a hearing on this matter,” the legislators wrote.

The lawmakers have cited reports outlining the DoD appears to play a more significant role in OWS than, adding its extent of involvement in OWS and use of appropriated funds warrants greater transparency and oversight.

“It is particularly important that we hear testimony from DoD officials to gain more transparency into how DoD is using congressionally appropriated funds for OWS and DoD’s processes for the administration and distribution of those funds through contacts and procurement,” the legislators concluded. “Awarding contracts in this fashion bypasses regulatory requirements and limits transparency, raising numerous questions and ethical concerns.”