Defense Priorities & Allocations System (DPAS)

The purpose of DPAS is to assure the timely availability of industrial resources to meet current national defense and emergency preparedness program requirements and to provide an operating system to support rapid industrial response in a national emergency. The Defense Production Act of 1950 authorized the President to require preferential treatment of national defense programs. Executive Order 12919 put Department of Commerce in charge of program. 15 CFR 700 provides rules for DPAS program. DoD 4400.1-M provides guidance for DoD activities. 

Rating System

All prime contracts, subcontracts or purchase orders in support of an authorized program are given a priority rating. A DX rating is assigned to those programs of the highest national priority. Per DoD 4400.1-M, the Under Secretary of Defense for AT&L approves DO rated orders and nominates to the Secretary of Defense for approval of DX rated orders. An unrated order is a commercial order or a DoD order that is not ratable.


DX rating takes priority over a DO rating which takes priority over an unrated order. Rated programs are also given a program identifier symbol. Examples are A1 for Aircraft and A3 for ships. The program identifier symbol does not, by itself, indicate any priority.

DPAS issues are to be resolved at the lowest level possible.

Basic Provisions

  1. Mandatory Acceptance
    A contractor, subcontractor, or supplier shall accept a rated order when:
    - They make/buy the item
    - Normal terms of sale apply
    - When they can meet delivery dates required the contract
    - A rated order shall be accepted or rejected, in writing, within 15 working days for DO rated orders and 10 days for DX rated orders. Special requirements apply for emergency preparedness rated orders.
    (See 700.13 (d) (3). Exceptions are found in 15 CFR 700.13(b)

  2. Mandatory Extension
    Prime Contractors are responsible for extending the received contract rating to their entire product supply chain to the lowest level in order to obtain items needed to fill rated orders or to obtain replacements of inventoried items.

  3. Priority Scheduling
    Operations, including the acquisition of all needed production items, shall be scheduled to satisfy the delivery requirements of each rated order. In the event there is competition for materials and/or resources for equally rated contracts the contractor and the Functional Specialist (FS) shall notify the Buying Activities (BA) involved. It is the responsibility of the BA to resolve any scheduling conflicts with the contractor and provide contract modifications required.

  4. Customer Notification Requirements
    If a person/contractor has accepted a rated order and subsequently finds that shipment or performance will be delayed, the person/contractor must notify the customer immediately, give the reasons for the delay, and advise the customer of a new shipment or performance date. If notification is given verbally, written (hard copy) or electronic confirmation must be provided within one working day of the verbal notice. DCMA FS shall encourage contractors to provide copy of notification to FS in order to facilitate a Delay Notice issuance from eTools DSM.


The DCMA CMO DPAS Manager is the primary point of contact that can provide assistance on DPAS related issues on contracts administered by DCMA personnel. DPAS training can also be provided to contractors on an as needed basis.  Contractors should report issues experienced during execution of DPAS to DCMA for potential resolutions.

DPAS is meant to be largely self-executing with a minimum of oversight. However, production or delivery problems can arise that require assistance with prioritization. Program/Logistics managers can utilize Special Priority Assistance to: expedite deliveries of rated orders, resolve delivery conflicts between rated orders, assist in placing rated orders with suppliers, locate suppliers to fill rated orders, verify urgency of rated orders, rate items not automatically ratable, and ensure compliance with DPAS regulations.

To request Special Priority Assistance, a Special Priorities Assistance Request Form BIS-999 must be submitted to the Contracting Officer or representative/specialist who awarded the contract.  Optionally, requests for information/assistance can also be initiated to assigned DoD activity’s DPAS Officers.  (There are designated DPAS Officers for the various buying offices).

DPAS contractual requirements include actions such as:  timely notification of acceptance or rejection of rated orders by contractors, extension of rating to sub-contractors, and priority scheduling when there are conflicts during the manufacturing process.

Contractors should provide notification to the Government as soon as it is determined that a delivery schedule cannot be met.  If a contractor fails to meet required delivery schedules on rated orders due to giving a higher priority to a lower rated or unrated order, they are in violation of DPAS regulations.

Continued and/or consistent DPAS violations can result in corrective action requests issued by the contract management office representatives administering the contract.

Requests for guidance or information can be obtained from the following, when appropriate:

  1. DCMA representatives on DCMA administered contracts
  2. Awarding Contracting Officers or DPAS Officers assigned to the activity/service
  3. OUSD(A&S) / OASD (Industrial Base Policy) / Research and Analytics
  4. Department of Commerce


Department of Defense Priorities and Allocations Manual DoD 4400.1-M
Department of Commerce  DPAS Regulation - 15 CFR 700