Defense Base Act Insurance was established by Congress in 1941. The primary goal of the Defense Base Act, as initially enacted, was to cover workers on military bases outside the United States.
The act was amended to include public works contracts with the government for the building of non-military projects such as dams, schools, harbors, and roads abroad. A further amendment added a vast array of enterprises revolving around the national security of the United States and its allies. Today, almost any contract with an agency of the U.S. government, for work outside the U.S., whether military in nature or not, may require Defense Base Act coverage.