WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), along with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), and Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) today introduced legislation to ensure that armor plate for America’s military is truly “made in America.” The bill would restore a 35-year rule, overturned by the Department of Defense in 2009, requiring that steel purchased by the U.S. military be 100 percent “made in America”—that is, both melted and finished in the United States.

“Using American-made steel in our military allows us to protect our troops while supporting local economies,” Klobuchar said.“This legislation will help promote ‘Made in America’ products while also ensuring that our troops have the first-rate equipment and vehicles they deserve.”

Steel armor plate is used for military vehicles, tanks, and equipment. Under Defense Department regulations, specialty metals procured for defense purposes—including steel armor plate—must be produced in the United States.  Despite more than 35 years of legal interpretation and administrative practice requiring that specialty metals be melted in the United States, the Defense Department in 2009—in the midst of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and during a time when the demand for steel was high—published a final rule defining the word “produced,” as it applies to armor plate under the Special Metals Amendment, to include simple finishing processes. This means that armor plate melted in foreign countries, including Russia and China, could be imported and subjected to simple finishing processes in the United States and then deemed to have been "produced" domestically. 

The United States Steel and Security Act, being introduced today, would require steel armor plate to be both melted and finished in the United States, not only protecting American steel jobs, but our country’s national security.