Valerie Bailey Grasso Specialist in Defense Acquisition
Military uniforms are procured through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), an agency of the Department of Defense (DOD). DLA is DOD’s largest combat support agency, providing worldwide logistics support for the United States (U.S.) military services, civilian agencies, and foreign countries. With headquarters in Fort Belvoir, VA, DLA operates three supply centers: DLA Aviation, DLA Land and Maritime, and DLA Troop Support. Military uniforms are procured through DLA Troop Support [formerly Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP)] in Philadelphia, PA.
DLA Troop Support is responsible for procuring nearly all of the food, clothing, and medical supplies used by the military, including about 90% of the construction materiel used by troops in the field, and repair parts for aircraft, combat vehicles, and other weapons system platforms. Within DLA Troop Support, the Clothing and Textile (C&T) Directorate supplies more than 8,000 different items ranging from uniforms to footwear and equipment. According to DLA Troop Support’s website, sales of goods exceeded $14.5 billion during 2009.
Legislative initiatives which may impact the procurement of military uniforms were enacted in several bills, among them: Section 822 of P.L. 112-81, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY)2012, which repealed the sunset provision of DOD’s authority to procure fire resistant rayon fiber from foreign sources used for the production of military uniforms, and P.L. 111-383, the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011. Section 821 of P.L. 111-383 required the Comptroller General to submit reports to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, not later than March 15, 2011, that assessed the supply chain for the procurement of fire-resistant and fire-retardant fibers and materials for the production of military uniforms. This legislation reflected congressional concern that with the continued threat of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, all combat personnel were subject to the possibility of fire-related injuries. Thus vehicle and aircraft fires remained a significant force protection and safety threat, whether they occurred during ongoing combat operations or training for future deployment.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied the issue and submitted a report to Congress in June 2011. GAO found that an Austrian company was the sole source for fireresistant rayon fiber for the manufacture of fire-resistant uniforms for military personnel; that DOD had taken steps to identify and test alternative fire-resistant, fabric blends to meet current demands; that there was debate as to whether fire-resistant rayon’s flame resistant characteristics posed a superior advantage over other alternatives. GAO did not provide a recommendation.
Date of Report: February 23, 2012
Number of Pages: 7 Order Number: RS20550 Price: $19.95
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