Since the onset of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, US President Donald Trump has been criticised for not invoking the DPA earlier. Since March, however, the law has been used to compel General Motors to build ventilators for the US Government and mandate companies like 3M to expand their production of N95 respirator masks. The law has its legislative roots in the War Powers Act of WWII.
This week US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper also announced that the Department of Defence (DoD) was using the Defence Production Act (DPA) to acquire 39m N95 respirator masks. But what is the Defence Production Act?