Here I am, walking along amongst the Senate office buildings on Capitol Hill in the city of Washington, when what do I come up upon?
This CROWS was hard at work demonstrating its integrated capabilities to Congressional staffers.
On Wednesday, March 28th at 12:00 pm, a Congressional Panel comprised of Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Congressman Bill Owens (D-NY), Congressman Larry Kissell (D-NC) and Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY) will discuss Soldier personal clothing and equipment needs, and the impact of a potential defense sequestration process on mission readiness.
The luncheon panel discussion will be take place in Room 902 of the Hart Senate Office Building and will be moderated by Lexington Institute CEO Merrick “Mac” Kerry. The event is hosted by the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC), an advocacy group for the domestic industry that supplies U.S. service members with personal clothing and tactical equipment. The event will be moderated by the Lexington Institute and media as well as congressional staffers are invited to attend.
Today, the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC), a non-profit organization of industry leaders that make and distribute organizational clothing and individual equipment (OCIE), announced that five additional companies have joined the group. They are: ArmorSource, LLC, Ceradyne, Inc., Gerber Gear, Glen Raven, Inc. and Survival Armor.
The WPRC is an advocate for the warfighter clothing and equipment industry whose primary mission is to provide a unified voice for sustained funding of the mission critical gear and equipment that allows warfighters to complete their missions safely and successfully. Each WPRC member company is creating domestic manufacturing jobs, maintaining a critical supply chain and providing American warfighters with the equipment they need to execute missions safely and effectively.
In a press release provided to SSD, WPRC’s Executive Director David Costello related, “The five new Coalition members demonstrate the industry’s commitment to ensuring our men and women in uniform has sustained access to the best mission-critical equipment available.” He went on to say, “The diversity in our new members represents a strong cross section of an industry vital to national security and American manufacturing. We’re thrilled to have ArmorSource, Ceradyne, Gerber, Glen Raven and Survival Armor on board with our mission and we look forward to having those organizations be a part of our increasingly successful advocacycampaign.”
The WPRC membership includes: ADS, Inc., ArmorSource, LLC,Bates Footwear, Benchmade Knife Company, Bluewater Defense, Brookwood Companies, Inc., Ceradyne, Inc., Darn Tough Vermont, DuPont, Duro Textiles, LLC, Eye Safety Systems, Inc., ForceProtector Gear, Gerber Gear, Glen Raven Inc., Insight Technology, Inc., International Textile Group, Inc., Leading Technology Composites, Inc., London Bridge Trading Company, Milliken & Company, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., Otis Technology, Inc., Outdoor Research, Pelican Products, Inc., Polartec, LLC, Silynx Communications, Inc., Smith Optics, Surefire, LLC, Survival Armor, TenCate Protective Fabrics, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Wilcox Industries Corp., Wild Things Tactical, and Wiley X, Inc.
For more information on the Warrior Protection & Readiness Coalition, please visit www.warriorprotection.net.
Have you ever asked yourself why your combat boots have to be made in the USA but not your running shoes? If so, you’re not the only one. It seems that some members of Congress have been asking the same thing of our military services. The answer? In a nutshell, “We don’t buy them because they don’t make them.”
As we are sure you are aware, the Berry Amendment requires that any textile and footwear related item procured by the DOD be manufactured within the United States, and made of domestically produced materials. However, as it currently stands, the procurement of athletic footwear varies by service, and in general, members of the military are either required to purchase their own athletic footwear, or are given a taxable cash allowance as part of their compensation. As a result, many US troops are wearing foreign-made running shoes.
Pursuant to this, on March 30, 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) submitted an interim response to the requirement of the Committee Print Number 10 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (Public Law 111-383), regarding DOD’s change in policy on athletic footwear for members of the Armed Forces. Under the new policy, DOD provides members an increased clothing allowance in order to purchase footwear, rather than purchasing it on their behalf. The interim report indicates that the new policy `provides new recruits the ability to buy commercially available running shoes of their choice, in consideration of the uniqueness of their individual physiology, running style, and individual comfort and fit requirements’ and `ensures that recruits are able to select and wear the type and size athletic shoe that provides the greatest comfort and reduces lower extremity injuries.’
But there’s an even bigger issue here. Last year’s FY11 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included a directive that required DOD to issue a report to Congress outlining its rationale for policies regarding distribution of athletic footwear for service members. Rather, DLA’s report back to Congress states that `A single model of athletic shoes which meets all of these requirements, at the selected price point, from a US supplier has not been identified.’ However, DOD does not appear to have conducted any market research or other systematic review to support this conclusion.
To ensure DLA has an accurate read on the industryâ€™s abilities, the FY12 NDAA contains a directive requiring market research on potential sources of athletic footwear for members of the Armed Services. This includes pricing of domestically produced athletic footwear that could be made available to meet DOD needs. It is important to note that DOD is instructed to conduct a survey of all major athletic footwear manufacturers and an assessment of the extent to which the supply of such athletic footwear could be increased if a domestic non-availability determination (DNAD) were made, as it has been in the past, for certain materials incorporated into such footwear.
Accordingly, the committee directs DOD to conduct market research, as provided in Part 10 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Part 210 of the DOD Supplement to the FAR, to assess the variety and pricing of domestically-produced athletic footwear that could be made available to meet DOD needs. The market research should include a survey of all major athletic footwear manufacturers and an assessment of the extent to which the supply of such athletic footwear could be increased if a domestic non-availability determination were made, as it has been in the past, for certain materials incorporated into such footwear. The committee directs the Secretary to provide an updated report on the need for the new policy, in light of the data provided by such market research, by no later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
This is where industry becomes critical to making this effort a success; industry needs to illustrate to Congress and DOD that it is ready and willing to support the warfighter, and create American jobs, by confirming their ability to manufacture Berry compliant athletic footwear.
What Congress and the DOD need to see in the survey is:
- What Berry compliant athletic footwear can industry produce?
- Does this capability include a variety of shoes and models great enough to meet the demands of service members?
The FY12 NDAA passed Congress and was recently signed into law by President Obama. We anticipate this survey will be conducted within the coming months, as it has been marked a high priority to the Armed Services Committees. Participate. It is imperative that footwear manufacturers who are interested in potentially manufacturing athletic footwear and footwear components respond to this survey. There is no other way to show DoD and Congress that this can be done by American workers.
On Saturday, President Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act into law during his vacation in Hawaii. As we have seen already here on SSD, there has been some controversy over certain provisions concerning detainment of terrorist suspects that were contained in earlier versions of the legislation before it was signed into law.
How an idea becomes a bill and then a law is pretty straight forward on the surface but the more complex the legislation and the more encompassing the issue, such as defense funding, the more amendments are tacked on meaning the bill can evolve and include issues that have nothing to do with the overarching intent. And then, there is that pesky issue of the House and Senate passing differing versions of the same bill. If the differences can’t be rectified via amendments then the bills go into conference committee with representatives from both chambers. While conventional wisdom says that there is gridlock in Washington, Congress sure can work out their differences in conference. The legislation that President Obama signed into law last week was the latest version of the bill, agreed upon by both houses of Congress.
Prior to its passage there were some rather disconcerting items in the proposed law that dealt with the indefinite detention of US citizens accused of being terrorists by the US military. Fortunately, they were removed in the wash. The House Armed Services Committee posted Highlights from the Conference report. Please visit and read:
http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=6bbafd38-7aae-46f9-b856-31652b920f1f and http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=23d194d7-78c9-4c57-b2d9-31bc3bb7daeb.
“The Conferees balance this approach with the conviction that the erosion of citizensâ€™ civil liberties in the pursuit of security constitutes a victory by the enemy. To that end, these provisions do not extend any new authorities to detain U.S. citizens and explicitly exempt U.S. citizens from provisions related to military custody of terrorists.”
In addition to these statements from the HASC, President Obama made a signing statement, specifically addressing these issues. A signing statement is made by the President when he signs legislation into law and uses it to show how he intends to enforce the measures.
“My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”
Unfortunately, there is an internet meme loose on the web that continues to misinform readers that the law now requires the indefinite detention of American citizens by the US military. Furthermore, fearmongers are using this misinformation to captivate and mislead the uninformed.
We urge you to research the actual law and to spread the word. There are a lot of tidbits in the Act that are more likely to impact international affairs and our economic recovery.
In the interest of putting some downright far out rumors to bed, we are publishing this statement by SureFire verbatim.
Dear Concerned American Citizens and SureFire Customers,
Weâ€™ve been made aware of various articles pertaining to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and SureFireâ€™s alleged role as a lobbyist and/or financial supporter of the bill and its primary political backer, Sen. Robert Portman. The news reports are using our associations with a Political Action Committee (PAC), a former consulting group, and a government contract to infer that we support indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. These reports are false and misleading. Our association with this bill has nothing to do with citizensâ€™ rights and SureFire is now the casualty of a disregard for sound journalism.
Weâ€™ve never supported the removal of citizensâ€™ rights let alone do we have any connection with those responsible for the injustice. Any news outlet alleging SureFireâ€™s support of anti-American rights, is reporting lies. SureFireâ€™s support of unrelated parts of the NDAA does not constitute support for every part of the bill like those that are now being contested.
This legislation is significant because only PM-ICE existed before the war started. It shows how important protecting American warriors is for Congress. For the Army, PEO Soldier and the associated funding for the huge advancements we have seen in Soldier Systems came along with the war. Funding thus far for all services has been via supplementals or in some cases via regrogramming actions. The Army is in the midst of developing a baseline budget for the Soldier Systems commodity area so that it can find its place in the Future Years Defense Plan. It is imperative that the gains already made are not lost due to loss of focus.
The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC) today applauded both passage of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the billâ€™s strong focus on warfighter clothing and equipment budgeting.
In the bill, Section 1094 requires that for the first time that the Military Departments provide an up-front, specific outline of their annual budget plans for the specialized products that protect warfighters from the enemy and the elements in theatre. Beginning in FY2013, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will now provide the President, in their budget request, an overview of spending plans for Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE).
With military budgets facing cuts in coming years, the WPRC believes this language will place a new level of emphasis on the need to provide Americaâ€™s men and women in uniform with the best protective clothing and equipment.
As David Costello, Executive Director of the WPRC noted, â€œOver the past decade, the Department of Defense has made enormous progress in the development and fielding of protective clothing and equipment to the warfighter. This success is a direct result of domestic industry rising to the task of properly outfitting those who bravely serve our country. This new congressional requirement will give those companies, who manufacture in the US, much more predictability in terms of budget planning. Most importantly, it will help ensure that our men and women in uniform continue to receive the clothing and equipment that is essential to their mission success. This is a key step in making sure that these critical products and programs are sustained to meet future challenges.â€
For two years, the WPRC has been an advocate for the clothing and equipment needs of service members and for the industry that supports them. A broad bi-partisan group of Representatives and Senators have supported the WPRC on this key issue. In particular, the WPRC is grateful for the leadership of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard â€œBuckâ€ McKeon (R-CA) and House Armed Services Committee Member Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY).
â€œThis legislation helps ensure Americaâ€™s warfighters have the tools to stay safe, complete their mission, and secure the nation,â€ said Congressman Owens. â€œIt is absolutely critical that we continue to offer complete support to the men and women engaged in Afghanistan, even as America responsibly winds down the war in Iraq. We have also taken steps in this legislation to help small businesses that do business with the Department of Defense better plan their operations by giving them a clearer sense of DoDâ€™s future needs.â€
The WPRC is an advocacy organization for the industry that manufactures and distributes clothing and equipment that saves lives, and that helps warfighters complete their missions effectively. The WPRC membership represents a cross section of a vital sector that helps maintain the strength of American manufacturing. The WPRC membership includes: ADS, Inc., Bates Footwear, Benchmade Knife Company, Bluewater Defense, Brookwood Companies, Inc., Darn Tough Vermont, DuPont, Duro Textiles, LLC, Eye Safety Systems, Inc., ForceProtector Gear, Honeywell, Insight Technology, Inc., International Textile Group, Inc., Leading Technology Composites, Inc., London Bridge Trading Company, Milliken & Company, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., Otis Technology, Inc., Outdoor Research, Pelican Products, Inc., Polartec, LLC, Silynx Communications, Inc., Smith Optics, Surefire, LLC, Tactical Holdings, TenCate Protective Fabrics, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Wilcox Industries Corp., Wild Things Tactical, and Wiley X, Inc.
For more information on the Warrior Protection & Readiness Coalition, please visit www.warriorprotection.net.
In an Op-Ed published in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal Rep Buck McKeon discusses looming cuts to the US Defense budget. You may recall the worst case scenario document prepared for his use by committee staffers which we recently published.
In the piece written for WSJ, he makes the case that DoD has already made a great deal of cuts and that in fielding the professional force we currently have, we take on a moral obligation to provide quality training and equipment for our troops. What he doesn’t come out and say, but hints at, is that deep cuts may well mean the end of the volunteer force. It’s a viable argument and it’s about time that this country had a serious discussion about alternatives. I’ve long felt that the US military no longer resembles the country it defends. Perhaps those that oppose a strong US military would reconsider their position if they thought that they and theirs might have to participate in the process rather than just criticize it. And, the American taxpayer might not feel so bad about the costs associated with the military if the quality of training and equipment was tied directly to the well being of their sons and daughters.
Ironically, the real budget crisis will come next month if the so-called super committee will be unable to agree on equitable spending cuts. The debt ceiling compromise that was reached during this summer’s kabuki theater created a looming situation which will result in $500 Billion in automatic cuts to defense if they cannot work out a deal. Gridlock is now the norm. If you have an opinion one way or another, let your elected representatives know how you feel and why.
Here is a preview of the Op-ed. Ironically, you have to be a subscriber to read the piece written by a US Congressman.
Buck McKeon (R-CA) is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a champion of the US service member.
This document, written by House Republican staffers for Rep Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (CA – R), Chairman of the HASC, gives us the “worst case” situation for the Defense budget 2013 – 2021 if:
(1) The recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction fail to be enacted and full sequestration occurs; or
(2) The FY 2013 defense budget request is 10% below FY 2011 enacted levels, which is one scenario OMB has directed all departments, including DOD, to plan for.
Unfortunately, I think things could get worse. There’s no saying what the next 11 years will look like. However, I can say that from an industry (and writ large US economy standpoint) the thought of losing 200,000 jobs directly related to Defense and a further Million associated positions will deal a blow to this Nation that will be tough to overcome.
Worst of all, there is the loss of military capability associated with these cutbacks. It is unfathomable to consider that the US would not maintain preeminence.
So, when you hear politicians of either party talk about cutting Defense, please remind them that the Defense industry employs Americans and many of them in manufacturing jobs which are the bedrock of any healthy, long lasting economy. And then remind them that they will be responsible for weakening this Nation if they do not maintain our military’s capability to defend on Land, Sea, Air, Space and Cyberspace.
Michael D. Lumpkin, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SOLIC), and Navy Adm William H McRaven, commander of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), recently discussed future SOF budget issues in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).
The thrust was that SOCOM is worried it will fall in the level of disrepair of the 1970s. Truth be told, ALL of the services need to worry about this. The Honorable Mr Lumpkin reiterated the five SOF truths that have been around since SOCOM’s inception over 20 years ago.
-Humans are more important than hardware
-Quality is better than quantity
-Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced
-Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur
-Special Operations require non-SOF assistance
One of the major points of contention is that, even if the SOF budget is not affected, that SOF enablers will be cut which will in turn, adversely affect the Nation’s ability to conduct SOF missions. While the idea of SOF enablers isn’t new, the concept has become more prominent since the beginning of the war. In particular, SOF relies heavily on non-SOF expertise in three areas; Intelligence, Communications, and Logistics. The first two areas are basically self-explanatory but the last area would include transportation, material support, and base support.
Hopefully the testimony will have an impact during future budget discussions and impress the impact of non-SOF organizations on SOF missions.
If you too are concerned about the SOF budget go take a look at the Armed Forces Press Service article.