Defense Priorities and Allocations System (DPAS)
Prioritizing National Defense and Emergency Preparedness
Title I of the Defense Production Act (DPA) provides the President authority to require preferential performance on contracts and orders, as necessary, to meet national defense, energy, emergency preparedness and critical infrastructure protection and restoration activities. Executive Order 12919 delegates priorities and allocations authorities to various federal departments and agencies.
The Secretary of Commerce has been delegated the authority to manage industrial resources. To implement its authority, the Department of Commerce (DoC) administers the Defense Priorities and Allocations System (DPAS) regulation (15 CFR Part 700). The DoC has delegated authority to the Department of Defense (DoD) under the DPAS to:
Preference for Rated DoD Orders
Under the DPAS, U.S. suppliers must provide rated DoD orders preference over unrated orders, as necessary to meet approved program requirements, even if this requires the diversion of items being processed for delivery against unrated orders. Although the DPAS is largely self-executing, if problems arise and/or defense priorities change, DoD can request DoC to direct U.S. suppliers to perform particular rated orders ahead of any or all other rated or unrated orders to meet urgent national defense requirements.
- Place priority ratings on contracts and purchase orders supporting national defense programs
- Request that DoC provide Special Priorities Assistance (SPA) to resolve conflicts for industrial resources among both rated and unrated (i.e., non-defense) contracts and purchase orders
- Request that DoC authorize priority ratings for national defense-related contracts and purchase orders in the U.S. from other federal agencies, other nations and international organizations, when such authorization furthers U.S. national defense interests
SPA is typically used to accelerate deliveries of critical industrial items due to changes in military urgency and to rate foreign defense contracts and purchase orders. SPA is also the vehicle used to implement decisions by the Priority Allocation of Industrial Resources (PAIR) task force to re-prioritize among conflicting rated contracts and purchase orders.
Serving the National Interest—A Case Study
During Operation Enduring Freedom, after consultation with other affected DoD programs, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Industrial Policy) asked the DoC to direct a U.S. company to produce and ship Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems to the Air Force, to support the Predator program in advance of competing DoD orders. The company met the Air Force need date because the directive reprioritized all DoD work in its facility, moving the Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems to the front of the production queue.
The vehicle for providing DoD requests to the DoC is DoC Form BIS-999, "Request for Special Priorities Assistance" (http://www.bis.doc.gov/DPAS)
The U.S. DoD has similar "DPAS-like" arrangements with several foreign countries. These arrangements establish procedures to request the priority delivery of critical industrial items or services necessary to meet urgent national defense requirements. Participating nations include:
- United Kingdom