President Obama has issued Executive Order 13603, titled “National Defense Resources Preparedness,” effective March 16, 2012. The order delegates authorities and addresses national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1940, as amended.
To ensure the United States has an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements, the order delegates to certain agency heads the President’s priorities and allocations authority conferred by the Act; authorizes certain agency heads to guarantee loans by private institutions to expand the production capacity and supply of resources essential for the national defense; establishes a National Defense Executive Reserve for employment with the government in the event of a national defense emergency; sets forth requirements for collection and maintenance of the data necessary to appraise the nation’s workforce needs for purposes of national defense; and, establishes the membership of the Defense Production Act Committee. For the text of the order in PDF format, click here. To read the order via the White House’s website, click here.
Some critics of the order go as far as saying it institutes “martial law” and provides the President with unfettered discretion over natural resources in a time of war. However, at a recent press conference, White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed the idea the order was ‘martial law’, and called it ‘standard and routine.’
What are your thoughts on this E.O. – too broad? Do you see any benefits? Do you think the order will foster interoperability between the various federal agencies and contribute to a more effective response to a national emergency? How do you think this will impact the government contracting arena at large? Sound off in the comments section below!