November 9, 2011
Partner Laurence J. Lasoff was quoted in the Politico
article, "Has Steel Become a Product of Confusion?" The article discusses the appeals of multiple members of Congress to the Defense Department, urging officials to reconsider the definition of "produced" as it relates to the acquisition of steel armor plate. Steel armor plate is a specialty metal used in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to protect U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the past, armor plate suppliers were required to have the specialty metal steel melted domestically or in one of 21 countries with which the United States has a reciprocal defense procurement agreement, but in 2009, the department issued a rule that defined specialty metals "produced" domestically as those that undergo just the final steps of the manufacturing process in the United States. This definition causes conflict with those who think that the American Military should be protected by American made products.
"At no time during the buildup, during the war in Iraq and beyond, was there ever a capacity issue associated with armor plate," Mr. Lasoff says. "To have to change the whole business model permanently when the authority and flexibility already exist - there's just no justification for it." He also comments that he believes the issue represents a larger shift at the Pentagon toward a global business model - a trend he's concerned could one day affect the procurement of other types of metals - which "puts the supply chain at risk."
Mr. Lasoff has lobbied for almost 30 years for domestic specialty metals manufacturers in support of existing statutory provisions which require that U.S. military equipment, weapons systems and aircraft be built with specialty metals produced in the United States.