May 14 (UPI) -- The Department of Defense confirmed Thursday that it has removed its lead official responsible for executing the Defense Production Act to increase production of masks and other equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Politico first reported Thursday that Jennifer Santos, who had been the Deputy Assistance Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, is moving to a new role in the Navy.
"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," Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said told CNN.
Santos, who was appointed to the job in 2019, was working on the Pentagon's efforts to ramp up production of N-95 respirator masks, swabs for COVID-19 tests and supplies needed to prevent the spread of the virus.
Santos previously was a staffer on the U.S. Senate's appropriations defense subcommittee, and also help finance- and acquisition-related roles in the Air Force.
Democrats in Congress have criticized the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus, including its slowness to use the powers of the DPA to produce safety gear and medical equipment needed to address the pandemic.