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Pentagon removes official responsible for executing the Defense Production Act

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Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy Jennifer Santos delivers remarks at a Pentagon press briefing about acquisition in regards to COVID-19 on March 25, 2020. (Lisa Ferdinando/U.S. Defense Department)

President Donald Trump has been criticized for not implementing the Defense Production Act to ensure more personal protective equipment is made for medical workers and Americans seeking masks necessary for public activities and swabs needed for COVID-19 testing. Now it appears the Pentagon official responsible for executing the DPA has been removed.

According to CNN.com, Jennifer Santos, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, was moved from her position to a role in the Navy.

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“The Department can confirm that Ms. Jennifer Santos is moving from her current position as the Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy to the Department of the Navy,” said Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Mike Andrews.

The president didn’t invoke the DPA until March 27, when he ordered General Motors to begin producing ventilators.

“Santos was appointed in the job in 2019 after her predecessor Eric Chewning was tapped to be chief of staff to then-acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan,” said CNN.

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