Berry Amendment: Requiring Defense Procurement to Come from Domestic Sources [Updated April 30, 2008] [open pdf - 146KB]
"In order to protect the U.S. industrial base during periods of adversity and war, Congress passed domestic source restrictions as part of the 1941 Fifth Supplemental Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act; these provisions later became the Berry Amendment. The Berry Amendment requires DOD to give preference in procurement to domestically produced, manufactured, or home grown products, notably food, clothing, fabrics, and specialty metals. […]. Some experts recommend changes in the Berry Amendment. The Gansler Commission has studied the state of defense acquisition and made a number of recommendations, among them loosening some provisions like the Berry Amendment. […]. Some policymakers believe that policies like the Berry Amendment contradict free trade policies, and that the presence and degree of such competition is the most effective tool for promoting efficiencies and improving quality. On the other hand, others believe that key U.S. sectors need the protections afforded by the Berry Amendment. The debate over the Berry Amendment raises several questions regarding the viability of the Berry Amendment, among them: (1) If the U.S. does not produce a solely domestic item, or if U.S. manufacturers are at maximum production capability, should DOD restrict procurement from foreign sources, and (2) to what extent do U.S. national security interests and industrial base concerns justify waiver of the specialty metal restriction? This report examines the original intent and purpose of the Berry Amendment, legislative proposals to amend the application of domestic source restrictions, as well as options for Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31236