Home » The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization by Jared T. Brown
The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization Jared T. Brown

The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization

Jared T. Brown

Published June 14th 2013
ISBN :
Kindle Edition
63 pages
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 About the Book 

The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 (P.L. 81-774, 50 U.S.C. Appx § 2061 et seq.), as amended, confers upon the President a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense. The authorities can be usedMoreThe Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 (P.L. 81-774, 50 U.S.C. Appx § 2061 et seq.), as amended, confers upon the President a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense. The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that, when called upon, it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense.Though initially passed in response to the Korean War, the DPA is historically based on the War Powers Acts of World War II. Gradually, Congress has expanded the term national defense, as defined in the DPA, so that it now includes activities related to homeland security and domestic emergency management. The scope of DPA authorities extends beyond shaping U.S. military preparedness and capabilities, as the authorities may also be used to enhance and support domestic preparedness, response, and recovery from natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and other national emergencies.The current authorities of the DPA include, but are not limited to:• Title I: Priorities and Allocations, which allows the President to require persons (including businesses and corporations) to prioritize and accept contracts for materials and services as necessary to promote the national defense.• Title III: Expansion of Productive Capacity and Supply, which allows the President to incentivize the domestic industrial base to expand the production and supply of critical materials and goods. Authorized incentives include loans, loan guarantees, direct purchases and purchase commitments, and the authority to procure and install equipment in private industrial facilities.• Title VII: General Provisions, which includes key definitions for the DPA and several distinct authorities, including the authority to establish voluntary agreements with private industry- the authority to block proposed or pending foreign corporate mergers, acquisitions, or takeovers that threaten national security- and the authority to employ persons of outstanding experience and ability and to establish a volunteer pool of industry executives who could be called to government service in the interest of the national defense.The authorities of the DPA are generally afforded to the President in statute. The President, in turn, has delegated these authorities to department and agency heads in Executive Order 13603, National Defense Resource Preparedness, issued in 2012. While the authorities are most frequently used by, and commonly associated with, the Department of Defense, they can be, and have been, used by numerous other executive departments and agencies. The DPA lies within the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.Nearly all DPA authorities will terminate on September 30, 2014, though a few, such as the Exon- Florio Amendment (which established government review of the acquisition of U.S. companies by foreigners) and anti-trust protections for certain voluntary industry agreements, have been made permanent. Since 1950, the DPA has been reauthorized over 50 times, though significant authorities were terminated from the original law in 1953. Typically, Congress has reauthorized the DPA through stand-alone measures granting an extension of the act for a definite period of time (ranging from a few months to many years). Congress last reauthorized the DPA in 2009 (P.L. 111-67, the Defense Production Act Reauthorization of 2009). This reauthorization amended some of the current DPA authorities and extended the termination of the act by five years.Congress may consider reauthorizing the DPA prior to its termination on September 30, 2014.