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Jerry McGinn: Defense Production Act Authorizes Gov’t to Prioritize Contracts

Jerry McGinn

Jerry McGinn, executive director of the Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University’s School of Business, has said the Defense Production Act invoked by President Donald Trump serves as an “important tool” as the country seeks to come up with short- and medium-term responses to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the defense industrial base.

McGinn wrote in an opinion piece posted Thursday on The Hill that the DPA authorizes the federal government, particularly the Department of Health and Human Services, to prioritize contracts to meet emergency preparedness and national defense requirements.

“This will be a helpful tool as U.S. officials frantically work to ensure that the necessary medical equipment gets to where it is needed most in this crisis,” he added.

McGinn said the law authorizes the head of state to develop, restore or expand defense industrial base capabilities through purchase commitments, loans and grants and allows the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to evaluate transactions for national security concerns.

“If used effectively, this DPA authority could be a useful tool to help rebuild domestic capacity, for example, in parts of the pharmaceutical supply chain where we are currently reliant on Chinese providers,” McGinn noted.

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