Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

A bit about the history of the DBA

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 27, 2008

Established in 1941, the Defense Base Act (DBA) provides the equivalent of workers’ compensation for civilian contractors working in contingency operations in overseas countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. “As designated by the Secretary of Defense, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq are both contingency operations.” [1] The Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) 2.101 defines a Contingency Operation (10 U.S.C. 101(a) (13)) to be a military operation that:

“(1) Is designated by the Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the armed forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing military force; or

(2) Results in the call or order to, or retention on, active duty of members of the uniformed services under section 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12305, or 12406 of 10 U.S.C., Chapter 15 of 10 U.S.C, or any other provision of law during a war or during a national emergency declared by the President or Congress.” [2]

DBA provides benefits in the event that civilian contractors are injured, killed, or kidnapped in the course of their work for US government agencies such as the various branches of the Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Agency for International Development, (USAID), or the State Department.

According to government documents, the DBA “program was created to provide workers’ compensation protections for categories of workers who were outside the jurisdiction of other state or federal workers’ compensation systems. The extensions to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) were enacted to provide coverage to classes of workers who are not covered under any other statutes.”[3]

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