Yesterday marked final passage by the Senate of the 2017 NDAA which includes the language that will have military issue athletic footwear made in the United States. This is a HUGE win for the Berry Amendment, the warfighter, and the domestic industrial base. My congratulations to everyone who made this happen.
Defense Department to Provide American-made Athletic Footwear to Troops
Rockford, Michigan, December 8, 2016 — Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) today hailed the passage of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the defense bill that sets the policy and spending levels for the fiscal year. Included in the final version of the NDAA is language directing the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to comply with the Berry Amendment and provide 100% American-made athletic footwear to recruits upon their initial entry to basic training. The Department of Defense has been providing a cash allowance to new service members for foreign-made athletic footwear. U.S. Marine recruits have been required to spend their own funds on these items.
Wolverine Worldwide is the parent company of Saucony, a manufacturer of high performance running shoes as well as of Bates footwear, the largest and most capable provider of combat boots, dress uniform and other footwear to the military. This legislation will positively impact footwear manufacturing in Michigan as well as the industrial base throughout the United States.
Members of the Michigan, Massachusetts, South Dakota and New Hampshire Congressional delegations, notably Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), Senator John Thune (R-SD), Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Representative John Moolenaar (R-MI), Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD), Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) have strongly supported this provision. Their hard work and leadership during NDAA consideration has ensured that recruits will have access to high-quality, American-made athletic footwear for military training and will help expand manufacturing for footwear and related components throughout the United States.
“I thank those members of Congress who have worked to sustain domestic manufacturing and ensure our warfighters train in American-made footwear,” said Blake Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “Congressional support for American-made products for the Department of Defense clearly demonstrates an understanding of the importance of maintaining a critical industrial capability within our country and ensures that soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines will be provided with a choice of technically advanced, durable, American-made athletic shoes for use in basic training.”
Since 1941, the Berry Amendment has required the Department of Defense to purchase American-made and sourced clothing, textiles, foods, and other essential military items for our men and women in uniform. The purpose of the Berry Amendment is to ensure that the United States is able to maintain viable domestic industries to support the needs of the Armed Services.
Wolverine Worldwide recently expanded its manufacturing plant located in Big Rapids, Michigan and employs more than 600 people who proudly build a broad spectrum of footwear for the Department of Defense. Products manufactured in Big Rapids include combat boots for the service branches, mountain combat boots for Special Operations Forces, and military dress shoes. Wolverine is adding an advanced manufacturing line for Berry-compliant Saucony running shoes in preparation for the pursuit of government awards. The company is looking forward to expanding upon this American-made athletic footwear capability to serve the Department of Defense as well as commercial markets.
Saucony is a leading global performance running brand founded in Pennsylvania in 1898. The brand is known for its best-in-class design, innovation and performance technology. Saucony has recently expanded its technical research laboratory in Waltham, Massachusetts where the company performs material testing as well as biomechanical, physiological, and sensory analysis of runners.
For additional information, please visit, www.wolverineworldwide.com.