Jennifer Santos, the Pentagon’s lead on handling the implementation of the Defense Production Act, has been fired.
Santos, who has been working as deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy since June 2019, told her staff Thursday morning that she had been fired from the position in a call that sources described as a tearful goodbye.
In her capacity as deputy assistant, Santos was responsible for utilizing the Defense Production Act to work with the defense and manufacturing industries in order to maximize the domestic production of masks and other protective equipment in order to help respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In March, President Trump began issuing memorandums authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to compel American businesses to produce equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment, and testing supplies in order to help combat the spread of the virus.
Managing these Defense Production Act directives fell under the purview of Jennifer Santos.
Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Mike Andrews confirmed that Santos has been moved to a new position in the Navy and that her replacement will be Scott Baum who is currently serving as the Department of Defense’s principal director of industrial policy.
According to sources who spoke with POLITICO, Santos “faced challenges leveraging the Defense Production Act” and that the shake up at the Pentagon was an attempt to find someone with a more suitable background related to the act.
“The department’s commitment to closely partnering with the defense industry remains unwavering, and we will continue to identify and mitigate impacts from the COVID-19 national emergency to ensure readiness and modernization,” Andrews said.