Coronavirus COVID-19 – Defense Production Act (DPA) and Defense Priorities and Allocations System (DPAS) – Substance and Process

On March 18, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order on prioritizing and allocating health and medical resources to respond to the spread of COVID-19 in the US, citing the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA), as amended (50 U.S.C. 4501 et seq.).

The DPA, which confers on the President, and his administration, a broad set of authorities to ensure domestic industry can meet national defense requirements, has been used routinely by the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to acquire spare parts, protective equipment and supplies to ensure readiness, especially in times of natural disasters. Contrary to some media reports, a federal agency’s use of the DPA does not require a declaration of national emergency. The President made his announcement specifically to respond to the need for medical supplies to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

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