Ok, so you are asking yourself, “What’s the Isakson Amendment?” Well, if you are a Soldier or Airman deploying to combat in the future this may be one of the most important pieces of legislation ever. Based on an urgent need for Fire resistant uniforms Congress passed a waiver to the Berry Amendment last year for the procurement of foreign produced fire resistant rayon fiber. Unfortunately, the waiver runs out in 2013. In budget years, that’s right round the corner.
Sponsored by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga, this Amendment to the 2010 Defense Authorization Act permanently raises the sunset on the Berry waiver.
While some may assume that this foreign produced fiber might pose a threat to the US textile industry, this is not true. for one thing, the fibers cannot be produced here in the US due to EPA restrictions. Additionally, the material is shipped from Austria in bales and once it arrives in the US is spun into yarn. Only then is the FR rayon woven into cloth, printed, and cut and sewn. The use of this fabric supports over 10,000 jobs in 14 states. Obviously, it isn’t a threat to the American textile industry. In fact, the opposite seems true.
If the waiver is not renewed, critical FR ACUs like the one that saved 1SG Sather will come in short supply. Unfortunately, the US industrial base would not be able to keep up with the current and projected demand for FR fabrics which are made up of a combination of domestic materials augmented with 65% of the FR rayon fiber. This combination was chosen by the US Army as the best performer from among over 24 candidates as the rayon provides added strength to the fabric and helps our domestically produced fibers go further.
Please support this important legislation.