Steel armor plate for US military must be produced in the US – by Steve Bennish (Dayton Daily News – April 4, 2013)

The U.S. Department of Defense has restored a rule mandating that steel armor plate purchased by the U.S. military be made in the United States, a move that will benefit Ohio steel companies.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, in announcing the decision Wednesday, said Cleveland’s ArcelorMittal and Cliffs Natural Resources, as well as Nucor in Marion, Ind, stand to gain. All are involved in the production of armor plate.

“This is a win for our military and for American companies like ArcelorMittal, Cliffs, and Nucor, that make steel for our military right here in the United States,” Brown said. “We know how to make steel armor plate here in America, and there’s no reason why countries like China and Russia should be making the steel used in our military’s vehicles and equipment.”
Brown said the rule is consistent with legislation he had proposed. AK Steel does not make armor plate.

Donald Gallagher, Executive Vice President and President – Global Commercial of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., praised the change.

“As a leading supplier of steelmaking raw materials, Cliffs understands the critical importance of producing defense-oriented iron and steel products in the U.S. from a domestic supply chain,” Gallagher said. “This final rule acts as recognition that domestic steelmakers have the capability to manufacture sufficient quantities of armor plate from the initial melting stages of production.”

Brown said that despite more than 35 years of legal interpretation and administrative practice requiring specialty metals be melted in the United States, the military 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 to include simple finishing.

That meant for years that armor plate melted in foreign countries, including Russia and China, could be imported and put through simple finishing processes in the United States and be deemed “produced” domestically.

For the original version of this article, please go to the Dayton Daily News website:

On a related issue, see “Nickel Closest Thing to a True War Metal”: