Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:
Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks met with from key industries this week to communicate Department of Defense priorities, learn more about industry initiatives, and discuss defense industrial base concerns.
On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary Hicks attended the White House Summit on Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing, where she discussed the transformative potential biotechnology and biomanufacturing bring to the department’s mission to defend the nation. This summit included a DoD commitment to invest more than $1 billion in the U.S. domestic bioindustrial manufacturing base.
On Thursday, she met with the Aerospace Industries Association Executive Committee, which is comprised of CEOs of leading aerospace companies. During the meeting, Deputy Secretary Hicks and industry CEOs discussed ongoing support to Ukraine, efforts to address industry pressures caused by inflation, and near- and long-term workforce challenges. She emphasized the importance of data-driven responses to economic conditions.
Deputy Secretary Hicks also highlighted that the department has awarded over $2.4 billion to procure capabilities for Ukraine as well as replenish U.S. stocks since the further invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February 2022.
They also discussed the detrimental impacts that a continuing resolution would have on ensuring predictable supply chains and on the defense industrial base. Deputy Secretary Hicks reiterated the national security imperative for timely, sufficient, and consistent annual funding.
The deputy secretary is also conducting individual touchpoints across industry sectors to discuss specific innovation efforts and concerns in order to better understand the strengths and vulnerabilities associated with U.S. supply chains and the health of the industrial base.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks continue to engage industry leaders as part of a regular, open communication strategy to advance the Department’s understanding of industry priorities and challenges.
These meetings with executives in key areas of innovation and modernization also help to employ a collaborative-disruption approach to accelerate the development of cutting-edge capabilities and new operational concepts.