News & Resources

Federal Publications Seminars Features Stephen Knight on Podcast Series: Defense Production Act and DPAS

Federal Publications Seminars featured Stephen Knight, Government Contracts Partner at Smith Pachter McWhorter, on its FPS Podcast Series, Podcast #1: The Defense Production Act of 1950 Explained

The Defense Production Act of 1950 has been dormant for decades. In this FPS podcast, Stephen Knight explains what DPAS is and it's impact to contractors as it related to COVID-19, three executive orders and the meaning of a "rated" contract. 

Listen to the Federal Publications Seminars Podcast here.

For information on the Defense Production Act (DPA), read our COVID-19 Client Alert: Defense Production Act and Implications for Government Contractors

By Executive Order dated March 18, 2020, the President invoked wartime powers authority provided in the Defense Production Act ("DPA") to direct private industry in the interests of the national defense.  See, 50 U.S.C. Ch. 55; The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Considerations for Congress (CRS Report No. R43767).  The definition of "national defense" is expansive and extends to domestic preparedness, response and recovery from natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and other national emergencies.  50 U.S.C. § 4552(14).  The President's authority includes the ability to prioritize government contracts over competing customers for goods and services and allocate or control materials, services, and facilities necessary to promote the national defense. 

The Executive Order specifically identifies ventilators and personal protective equipment as priorities and delegates authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify further necessary health resources relating to the COVID-19 emergency.  Although the Executive Order was initially limited to medical items, we are already seeing expansions to other sectors of the economy outside of the medical field. 

For more information on resources for government contractors available through Federal Publications Seminars, visit