What is the Defense Production Act?

With this measure, the president can pressure U.S. industries to produce critical supplies, especially medical equipment. Here's what you need to know about the Defense Production Act.

The DPA was signed into law in 1950

The Defense Production Act, otherwise known as the DPA, gives the president certain powers over US companies for national security purposes. The president can order companies to prioritize production of key products and protect against price-gouging. It was signed into law in 1950 by President Harry Truman.

How the Korean War was involved

The U.S. was preparing to enter the Korean War, the first conflict in the Cold War, but it didn't have enough supplies."We must be prepared to make some sacrifice in our own standards of living. I'm sure that we will be willing to make sacrifices here at home if we think of the much greater sacrifices being made by our sons and husbands who are fighting at the front.", President Truman announced after signing the DPA into law. The DPA allowed Truman to make sure enough steel, copper, aluminum, and chemicals were produced for the war effort and that prices remained stable to protect the economy.

But the DPA isn't only used during war

In 2001, President George W. Bush used it to provide fuel and equipment to California during an energy crisis. In 2011, President Barack Obama used the DPA to require that phone network providers reveal how their products were made in order to combat cyber espionage. Today, using the DPA is common: the Department of Defense uses it to prioritize some 300,000 military contracts every year. During the coronavirus outbreak, many have called on the government to use the DPA to increase production of surgical masks and ventilators and to prevent states from competing against each other for supplies. President Trump has invoked the DPA, but has also said he doesn't want to use it to force businesses to produce specific products. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently commented on this, stating, “There are masks that we were paying 85 cents for, we're now paying $7. Why? Because I'm competing against every other state, and in some cases against other countries around the world.”


03/28/2020 12:00 PMupdated: 04/01/2020 7:48 PM


  • Tanya Y.
    04/01/2020 14:03

    He wants us to dead. GOP thinks it will be good for the economy. Everything he has done or not done has killed AMERICANS

  • Sue M.
    03/29/2020 03:17

    Much better for who exactly?

  • Ruth G.
    03/29/2020 01:01

    Why hasn’t this been done a month ago??? Coronavirus test kits, ppe equipment and everything needed for treatment like ventilators.... ??

  • Miguel R.
    03/28/2020 20:57

    It's because , doing it the way we do it it's much better. Ego hype.

  • Claudia T.
    03/28/2020 16:07

    It takes the leadership of Governors to get the pos trump to start doing his job.

  • Janet T.
    03/28/2020 14:45

    Save lives make the needed ventilators, masks, gloves, shields, and gowns. The info is available the numbers are there, make the items already. People's lives are at state

  • Nevin S.
    03/28/2020 14:34

    Brut is an echo chamber for Limp wrist- no better than CNN and NYT- p#ss off

  • Cindy S.
    03/28/2020 14:15

    Better for whom!???

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