The Defense Priorities and Allocations System, or DPAS, assures timely delivery of materials and services from private industry to meet national defense needs and provides an operating system to support rapid industrial response to government procurement needs in times of an emergency.
1. What is DPAS?
Section 101 of the Defense Production Act (DPA) authorizes the President to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts and orders necessary or appropriate to promote the "national defense." The President has delegated this authority related to industrial resources to the Department of Commerce (DOC) in Executive Order 12919. DOC implements this authority through the Defense Priorities and Allocations System (DPAS). For the purposes of DPAS (and other DPA programs), "national defense" is defined to include emergency preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation activities conducted pursuant to title VI of the Stafford Act and actions to protect or restore critical infrastructure operations (in addition to military, energy, and space programs). The purpose of DPAS is to:
- Assure timely delivery of materials and services from private industry to meet national defense needs; and
- Provide an operating system to support rapid industrial response to Government procurement needs in times of emergency.
2. How is DPAS implemented?
DPAS policy and procedures are provided in the DPAS regulation (15 CFR Part 700). This regulation is administered by DOC and is used, as authorized by DOC, by other Federal departments and agencies and industry to support programs necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense. DPAS provides for the use of contract terms that specify a priority rating and delivery dates for materials and services.
In general, potential suppliers must: (1) accept or reject contracts and orders that contain a DPAS priority rating for materials and services they normally supply within 15 working days; (2) provide preferential performance for rated orders to the extent necessary to meet contracted delivery dates; and (3) extend the priority rating to suppliers.
3. Who is authorized to use DPAS priority ratings?
DOC has delegated specific priority rating authority, with respect to industrial resources, to the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), the General Services Administration (GSA), and DHS. DPAS Delegation 4 from the Secretary of Commerce authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to place priority-rated contracts and orders in support of: (1) DHS programs; and (2) State, local, and tribal government programs involving emergency preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation activities. The authorities delegated to the Secretary of Homeland Security in E.O. 12919 and DPAS Delegation 4 have been re-delegated to the Administrator of FEMA and, in turn, to the Associate Administrator of the Office of Policy and Program Analysis.
4. What programs are eligible for DPAS support?
In general, the following categories of FEMA and DHS operational programs are eligible for DPAS support:
- Emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery
- Intelligence and warning systems
- Border and transportation security
- Domestic counter-terrorism, including law enforcement
- Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures
- Critical infrastructure protection and restoration.
5. How are programs authorized to use DPAS priority ratings?
The Associate Administrator of the Office of Policy and Program Analysis is responsible for determining which DHS programs are eligible for DPAS support and for authorizing officials in eligible programs to use priority ratings in support of their programs. A DHS program official wishing to obtain authority to use a DPAS priority rating in support of an eligible DHS program submits a written request for this authority. The request should:
- Describe the program in sufficient detail to support the required "national defense" determination; and
- Provide a general description of the program's procurement requirements and note significant known or potential procurement problems, if any.
DHS personnel may also:
- Request DPAS authority for DHS procurements on behalf of State, local, and tribal governments for emergency preparedness activities; and
- Assist providers of critical infrastructure in submitting requests for priority-rating authority in support of their efforts to protect or restore critical infrastructure operations.
6. What are the limitations on use of DPAS priority ratings?
There are a number of limitations on use of rated orders. In general, DPAS priority ratings may not be used for:
- Food resources;
- Health resources;
- Civil transportation;
- Water resources
- Any items that:
- Are commonly available in commercial markets for general consumption;
- Do not require major modification when purchased for approved program use; and
- Are readily available in sufficient quantity so as to cause no delay in meeting approved program requirements; and
- Any items to be used primarily for administrative purposes, such as for personnel or financial management.
7. What is the process for placing rated orders?
The process for placing a rated order under DPAS involves both a program official and a contracting officer. A program official, who has been granted DPAS authority, directs a contracting officer to include a priority rating in contracts and orders for eligible materials and services. The rated order must include:
- An appropriate "DO" priority rating and a program identification symbol, generally provided by the OPPA Associate Administrator;
- A specific delivery date or dates;
- The statement found in section 700.12(d) of the DPAS regulation; and
- The signature (electronic or written) of the contracting officer.
8. What constitutes a priority rating?
A priority rating consists of a priority level and a program identification symbol (PIS). Priority levels:
- DX - the highest level (This level is not available for DHS use)
- DO - the level used for most rated contracts, including DHS contracts
- All DO rated orders have equal priority with each other and take preference over unrated orders. All DX rated orders have equal priority with each other and take precedence over DO rated orders and unrated orders, when necessary to meet rated-order delivery dates.
A PIS identifies the type of program supported by the priority rating. There are currently eight DHS Approved Program categories under DPAS. The PIS and description for each of these categories follows:
- N1 - Federal emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery
- N2 - State, local, and tribal government emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery
- N3 - Intelligence and warning systems
- N4 - Border and transportation security
- N5 - Domestic counter-terrorism, including law enforcement
- N6 - Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures
- N7 - Critical infrastructure protection and restoration
- N8 - Miscellaneous.
Priority-rating example: "DO-N1" - "DO"-rated program involving Federal emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery activities.
9. What are contractor responsibilities under DPAS?
A potential supplier (within the United States) must:
- In general, accept a rated order, when capable of fulfilling the order;
- Schedule production or shipment from inventory to meet the delivery dates specified in the order; and
- Place "DO" rated orders with subcontractors and suppliers to obtain materials or services needed to satisfy the order.
Suppliers generally carry out their DPAS obligations with no need for Government enforcement or assistance. Suppliers are not liable for damages or penalties for any act or failure to act resulting from compliance with their DPAS obligations. Suppliers are subject to penalties for willful violation of Defense Production Act provisions or DPAS regulation.
10. How are problems with rated orders handled?
DPAS is designed to be largely self-executing. However, the DPAS provides for special priorities assistance ("SPA") to address procurement problems. SPA may be used for purposes consistent with the DPAS regulation, such as:
- Expediting deliveries
- Resolving delivery conflicts
- Placing rated orders
- Identifying potential suppliers
- Verifying information supplied by customers and vendors.
SPA may also be used to request rating authority for items not automatically ratable.
11. How does one obtain special priorities assistance?
Any contractor, program official, contracting officer, or DPAS officer may request special priorities assistance (SPA). SPA requests are documented using Form BIS-999 and are submitted to a DPAS Officer. DPAS officers attempt to resolve the problem and forward unresolved SPA requests to the DHS FPAS Coordinator. If a SPA request cannot be resolved within DHS, it may be forwarded to DOC for action.
12. What are the functions of a DPAS Officer?
A DPAS Officer is responsible for implementation, administration, interpretation, and training of DPAS within his/her component organization. DPAS Officer functions are generally performed as collateral duties. The head of a DHS component appoints a DPAS Officer to address DPAS issues within that component. DPAS Officers:
- Attempt to resolve SPA issues, in coordination with the cognizant contracting officers
- Assist component officials, representatives of State, local, and tribal governments, and representatives of critical infrastructure operations in developing and submitting requests for DPAS authority and SPA
- Provide information and training for component, other government personnel, and private sector personnel involved in use of rated orders for DHS programs
- Forward unresolved SPA requests to the DHS FPAS Coordinator.
DPAS Guidance and Training
- DPAS Regulation
- FEMA DPAS Directive
- FEMA DPAS Manual
- DPAS Training Courses
DHS FPAS Coordinator, OPPA