WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Pentagon is executing its first project under the authorities granted by the Defense Production Act in order to produce more than 39 million critical N95 masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“On the evening of April 10, the Department of Defense received approval from the White House Task Force to execute the first DPA Title 3 project responding to COVID-19,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said in a statement.
“The $133M project will use these authorities to increase domestic production capacity of N95 masks to over 39 million in the next 90 days,” the statement added.
The names of the companies involved were not immediately announced.
N95 masks have been seen as a critical resource and the Defense Department has already pledged 10 million such masks from its own stockpiles to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The US military has also deployed hundreds of its doctors and nurses into some of hardest hit hospitals, two Navy hospital ship hospitals, and thousands of National Guard members to support the country’s coronavirus response.
President Donald Trump last week separately authorized the Defense Production Act to be used, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to obtain from 3M as many N95 masks the federal agency thought was necessary to help with the response.