SIG Sauer Academy

HASC Members Speak in Support of Service Member Protection at WPRC Event

Earlier this week, the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition sponsored an event in Washington, DC featuring a panel of lawmakers. If you’re a reader of SSD, the subject was near and dear to your heart; the future of Soldier Systems from a Congressional standpoint. It’s important to note, that while a service might have a dire need for a certain capability, such as improved ballistic protection, or a new weapon system or camouflage, there is only so much flexibility in their service budgets. It requires Congress to appropriate the money to increase these capabilities. Fortunately, there are some in Congress who are very much in tune with the needs of our service members.

The panel was moderated by the Lexington Institute and all three panelists are members of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressmen Bill Owens (D-NY), Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Larry Kissel (D-NC). All three bring a slightly different perspective but have the same goal, ensuring American Warriors are the best equipped in the world.

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Congressman Bill Owens represents New York’s 23rd District. He is a US Air Force Vet who was stationed at Plattsburgh AFB and later returned to live in the area. Right off the bat, Representative Owens explained his position. “It’s important that we don’t let the improvements that we’ve made over the past ten years go away as we curtail operations in Afghanistan'” and went on to add, “We need to begin to work in a bipartisan way to solve complex problems,” signifying his desire to reach across the aisle to those ends.

Interestingly, he mentioned several companies in his district that have moved from Canada to the US in order to be in compliance with Berry. Based on this experience, he stated that he would like to see more participation by Canadian companies in protecting American troops.

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Congressman Chris Gibson is a retired US Army Infantry Colonel having served for 24 years including three combat deployments. On September 10th, 2001 he was at Fort Polk, serving as a Brigade XO in the 10th Mountain on a pre-deployment exercise to the Balkans. In Congress, he offers a boot-on-the-ground perspective few others can match. His comments reflect this view, “Looking back on September 10th (2001) to now, it’s amazing how far the Army has come. We are different military today. We can’t lose these capabilities.”

Additionally, he is very well informed about how we’ve achieved these increased Soldier Systems capabilities. Representative Gibson stated, “We need to find a place for things that were OCO in the budget.” He also has a vision for the future of Soldier protection, seeing nano technology as critical to lightening and improving the performance of our kit. While its been said many times before, Gibson’s final comment resonated with the gathering, “You’re not manning the equipment, you’re equipping the man.”

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Larry Kissel comes from the 8th Congressional district of NC. He brings 27 years in the textile business, so the health of the US sewing trade is very important to him. Fort Bragg also sits on the edge of his district and he finds it hard not to show concern for our military’s well being, commenting, “When you live where we do, Fort Bragg is the center of the universe.”

During his remarks, Representative Kissel also remarked, “We need to make sure that when our men and women go into harm’s way, that they have the best equipment.” Later, when discussing the Berry Amendment, he was very clear in his support stating, “Berry has worked for 60 years. The strongest thing we can have is a good economy and that means American jobs.” “It doesn’t make sense to have TSA or Border Patrol in something not made in America,” he explained was a top priority, when asked about bringing the Department of Homeland Security under Berry.

David Costello, Executive Director of the WPRC, summed up the event well, “The WPRC represents the best of the American manufacturing industry that builds the clothing and equipment that helps make our troops the most effective fighting force on the planet. We are honored to have the support of Senator Brown and Congressmen Owens, Gibson and Kissell as we seek to ensure the continued proper outfitting of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and operators.”

The event was very successful and all three Congressmen fielded questions from the audience. It was a pleasure meeting those so vocal about their support for our industry.

For more information on the WPRC visit warriorprotection.net.

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One Response to “HASC Members Speak in Support of Service Member Protection at WPRC Event”

  1. Strike-Hold! says:

    “It doesn’t make sense to have TSA or Border Patrol in something not made in America,” he explained was a top priority, when asked about bringing the Department of Homeland Security under Berry.

    I do see the logic in that…