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Investments made by the US Department of Defense (DoD) are expected to increase the total domestic N95 mask production next year.

It is anticipated to be in excess of one billion per year, which will help the Covid-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force meet the increased demand of N95 masks to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, reported C Todd Lopez.

Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the US was consuming about 50m N95 masks each year. Currently, the demand for masks has increased with approximately 140m in use in the last three months.

Defense Department’s Covid-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force director Stacy Cummings said a production rate of 450 million masks a year will be achieved by October and over 800 million masks a year by January.

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US Acquisition and Sustainment Defense Undersecretary Ellen Lord said: “In order to decrease our dependence on foreign suppliers for medical resources, DoD has focused on increasing domestic industrial capacity and capabilities.

“To that end, we executed some $284m in industrial expansion efforts during the first two weeks of May 2020.

“Reconstituting domestic production or creating new production that shifted offshore years ago often requires capital expenditure, capital equipment expenditures, retooling and retraining of the workforce.”

To help businesses sustain during the crucial situation, the US DoD is using $688m of CARES Act funding to support impacted Defense Industrial Base (DIB).

The DIB includes diverse businesses producing weapons, equipment and supplies for the US military.

Lord added: “This change will infuse an estimated $3bn in cash to all levels of the DIB. Further, the department has partnered with the major primes to ensure this increase in cash makes its way throughout the supply chain.”