Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization [June 19, 2014] [open pdf - 497KB]
"The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 (P.L. 81-774, 50 U.S.C. Appx §2061 et seq.), as amended, confers upon the President a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense. The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that, when called upon, it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense. Though initially passed in response to the Korean War, the DPA is historically based on the War Powers Acts of World War II. Gradually, Congress has expanded the term national defense, as defined in the DPA, so that it now includes activities related to homeland security and domestic emergency management. The scope of DPA authorities extends beyond shaping U.S. military preparedness and capabilities, as the authorities may also be used to enhance and support domestic preparedness, response, and recovery from natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and other national emergencies."
CRS Report for Congress, R43118
Federation of American Scientists: http://fas.org/