Specialty Metal Provision and the Berry Amendment: Issues for Congress [October 5, 2010] [open pdf - 238KB]
"In order to protect the U.S. industrial base during periods of adversity and war, Congress passed a set of domestic source restrictions which became known as the Berry Amendment. Specialty metal represented one of fourteen items previously covered under the Berry Amendment. Congress took action in the FY2007 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 109-364) to move the specialty metal provision from the Berry Amendment (Title 10, United States Code [U.S.C.] 2533a) into a separate section of Title 10 (10 U.S.C. 2533b). Specialty metals are defined in Title 10 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 2533b, and the definition is restated in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regular Supplement (DFARS). The range of specialty metals include steel, metal alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, and zirconium and zirconium base alloys. Thousands of products used for defense, aerospace, automotive, and renewable energy technologies rely on specialty metals for which there are often few, if any, substitutes. The availability of sources of supply of some specialty metals, particularly the access to rare earth metals, is an issue raised in recent news reports and congressional hearings. [...] The specialty metal provision raises several questions, among them: (1) to what extent do United States national security interests and industrial base concerns justify waiver of the specialty metal provision, (2) if the United States does not produce a 100% domestic specialty metal, should DOD [Department of Defense] restrict procurement from foreign sources, and (3) what factors should drive the determination of which specialty metals should fall under the specialty metal provision? Debate over the specialty metal provision invites and renews a debate over the efficacy of domestic source restrictions and whether the rationale for every restriction represents a balanced and reasonable approach. This report examines the specialty metal provision, potential oversight issues for Congress, and options that Congress may choose to consider."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33751