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ADS Inc Wins USAF Non-FR Combat Shirt Contract

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Last week, the Department of the Air Force awarded ADS Inc a contract for $1,908,872.41 to deliver non-FR Combat Shirts under the Defensor Fortis-Load Carrying System 2 program. Intended for use by AF Security Forces, these Combat Shirts differ from the Airman Battle Shirt by being manufactured from lightweight, non-FR materials yet like the ABS, incorporate a mock turtleneck and also sport the Digital Tigerstripe Pattern worn by all stateside Airmen. These are going to be worn by SF on gate duty when they wear body armor such as IBA or equivalent to increase comfort and are not intended to be worn in a deployed environment.

Here is a full description:

All fabric shall be lightweight, breathable, moisture wicking and odor resistant; long sleeve “over the head” style with a semi-tight fit that eliminates bunching or riding up under armor; right & left sleeves shall contain: Air Force Digital Tiger Stripe Camouflage Print, hook and loop cuff closures, anti-abrasion padded elbow patches, two-channel flapped pen pocket on both forearms secured by hook & loop fastener tape, zippered shoulder pockets with 6-1/4 inch opening for all sizes (opening toward front of arm); right shoulder pocket must accommodate hook & loop name tape and rank insignia; fastener tape dimensions: loop fastener for name tape shall be 1 inch wide x 5-1/2 inches long, loop fastener for the rank patch shall be 2 inches wide x 2 inches long; torso & mock turtle neck shall be AF Sage Green 1641 (match color in Tiger Stripe Green) or Army Foliage Green 504; modesty panel covering chest area. These will be available in X-Small through XXX-Large.

There is still no award on the load carriage portion of the solicitation.

UPDATE – I’ve added a photo of the sleeve of the prototype shirt that I have. It doesn’t have a sleeve pocket or Velcro.

20140411-114423.jpg

Ask SSD – What’s the Story on These $10 Billion Special Operations Equipment Contracts?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Recently, we’ve shared several contract award announcements for Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support issued by Defense Logistics Agency. There has been some consternation amongst our readers regarding these awards and what they mean.

First off, the award announcements are for the 6 winners of the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support program run by Defense Logistics Agency. Some of you guys may remember the old Prime Vendor program and this is just the latest version.

Last go around, 4 companies held the contract; ADS Inc, Darley Defense, Source One, and TSSi. This time, they’ve been joined by Quantico Tactical and Federal Resources Supply for a total of 6.

Different Prime Vendor programs exist for a variety of commodity areas including the TLS program we are most familiar with so it isn’t just for buying eye pro and sleeping bags. For example, similar arrangements exist for Class I (rations) and Class VIII (medical). They were created in order to streamline the delivery of goods by moving the onus of kitting, packaging and warehousing unto the vendor and off of the Government.

In the case of Special Operational Equipment, it was initially let many years ago to support the dive community so that it could introduce a wider variety of low demand items and keep up to date with new technology rather than having DLA stock a smaller range of dive gear that can become quickly outdated. Some of the units that used dive equipment such as Naval Special Warfare asked if the contract vehicle could be used to purchase other gear they used such as packs and boots and the program adapted itself to support the procurement of a wide range of gear.

Originally, Prime Vendor had 4 vendors and worked much differently than it does now. At the time, you contacted the vendor with a list of exactly what you wanted, even by brand name. They gave a quote and once you approved it, you transferred the funds and they bought what you wanted, shipped it to you, and you used it.

Now, one aspect of the program is still the same. Now in its fourth generation, the customer can still order specific brand name products to meet their mission requirements within the scope of the TLS contract. But how it’s done has changed. Each of those 6 companies was awarded a seat at the table. That seat is an opportunity to provide the equipment a DoD customer needs. Customers don’t go directly to the vendor anymore. Instead, they now go to DLA Troop Support and DLA uses the same procedures that are used with many service oriented IDIQs. DLA issues a task order with the list of equipment the customer wishes to purchase. Each of the 6 vendors has a short period of time to offer a bid and the Government selects the best value and awards that task order to the winning bidder. Best value is pretty important here. Oftentimes, that means best price but in the case where a customer isn’t beholden to a particular brand of product. For example, they want a day pack but are more interested in the capability than a brand. They can ask for “or equivalent” substitutions that allow the vendors to offer options. DLA will work with the customer to determine the best value based on requirements and award based on that. That’s why best value may not necessarily be best price. An item may cost more but more, yet turn out to be a better solution than other offerings.

Additionally, DLA monitors the program. DLA Troop Support audits the vendors on a regular basis competitive pricing, overall customer satisfaction and promptness of delivery. TLS, as a component of DLA, also allows customers to use Military Standard Requisitioning & Issue Procedures (MILSTRIP) requisitions, government credit cards and Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPR).

We’ve been posting the TLS award announcements and it’s confused some folks, including vendors. The program still works the same, but now you’ll have a few more companies in the mix. These contracts are for a total of 5 years with a base period of 2 years with 3 options through March 6, 2019. This Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract holds a maximum total award amount of $10 billion.

To wrap this up, let’s cover the term Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity and this relatively high contract ceiling. Sure, $10 Billion sounds like a lot of money and it is, and all 6 of the awardees are telling everyone that they got a contract worth $10 Billion. Once again, what they got was a chance to earn up to that much money. Generally with IDIQs, the Government puts a fairly high ceiling on the contract so that they have plenty of room in case something comes up. It’s good business, but it doesn’t mean they will spend every Dollar of it. Usually, they don’t. In fact, the draft solicitation for TLS states that the contract will probably be worth about $4 Billion over 5 years.

I’ll follow this up with a note. If your supply section is asking for an NSN for a widget you need, they are living in the Cold War. That costly national stock system that issued NSNs to every imaginable item under the sun is a product of that bygone era. TLS is meant to lower costs and increase options. Consider using TLS to purchase low demand items. The program is managed by DLA and purchasing through TLS allows customers to use Military Standard Requisitioning & Issue Procedures (MILSTRIP) requisitions, government credit cards and Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPR). It’s perfectly legal and encouraged. Just remember, you can’t purchase everything with TLS. The are limits, such as restrictions on non-Berry compliant gear. Be sure to make sure you are using the right procurement option for the requirement.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion and gives you a better idea of what IDIQ, contract ceilings and TLS are all about.

SSD Exclusive – MultiCam Creator Crye Precision Speaks Out Regarding US Army Efforts to Adopt New Camouflage

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Recently, Soldier Systems Daily published a story detailing the three latest courses of action that the Army is considering to adopt a new camouflage pattern. After reading that story, Crye Precision contacted me and said that they were considering providing SSD with some information that would clarify their position on the matter. Heretofore, Crye Precision has been very tight lipped about everything Army camouflage related and my questions have been met with a pat, “we can’t talk about that.”

While no one in the US Army has made an official statement on the current state of the effort, it has definitely gone way off schedule and seems to have lost its focus. Unfortunately, the Army has abandoned its own plan and along with it the transparency that Phase IV of the Camouflage Improvement Effort once enjoyed. Facts are difficult to come by. Crumbs of information appear here and there. Sources leak confidential info to the press. In the process, we begin to see a distorted view of what is going on. From the Army’s standpoint, it seems that Crye Precision is asking for the moon. But based on what I’ve read from Crye, a new picture begins to take focus and I am beginning to feel that the Army and Crye Precision aren’t really in negotiations at all. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the Army’s actions suggest they don’t seem to be negotiating in good faith. Hopefully, the Army and Crye can work this out. I remain incensed that no one in the US Government can seem to pick up a pencil and paper and work out the math on this. After investing over $1 Billion in equipment in the effective Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP)/MultiCam since 2010, the Army should be happy to pay Crye Precision a fair and reasonable fee in order to negotiate a cost savings over the next decade or more.

Early this morning I received the following information in an email from Caleb Crye. It contains some very significant pieces of info. At least now we have one side of the story and hopefully, the US Army will be more forthcoming regarding their position on this.

MC in Combat

Ultimately, the goal is to provide the American Soldier with the most effective equipment. Let’s hope that institutional momentum, bureaucracy and personal agendas haven’t made the Army lose sight of this.

I have published the contents of the memorandum below and you can download your copy of the document here.

Introduction

Over the past fourteen years, Crye Precision has produced millions of protective items for the US Army and other branches of the Department of Defense. We are proud of our work and are honored to serve those who put their lives on the line to ensure our freedoms. As a business, our focus and internal challenge has always been to develop innovative designs that help our warfighters survive and succeed on the battlefield. We have offered countless products, from body armor to protective apparel to simulation software that reduce casualties and save lives, however, it is our MultiCam® camouflage pattern which stands above all of our products as having done the most to safeguard our troops. Though it is impossible to accurately calculate the number of casualties reduced and Soldier’s lives saved as a result of being well concealed from the enemy, the overwhelming number of direct accounts from warfighters citing MultiCam’s® undeniable performance advantage in combat are the truest testaments to MultiCam’s® effectiveness.

Crye Precision rarely weighs in publicly but in light of recently released confidential information that has misrepresented Crye Precision and the situation surrounding the Army’s efforts to develop new camouflage patterns, we feel compelled to correct the record on behalf of our company, our industry partners, the taxpayers and the warfighters who deserve nothing less than our best efforts.

Key Facts

- On June 14, 2004, the Army officially adopted its familiar “pixely” blue-gray Universal Camouflage Pattern (dubbed “UCP”). Alarmingly, this pattern was adopted without scientific or operational testing.

- From 2005-2006, the Army tested MultiCam® against UCP. The Army’s official side-by-side test report confirmed that MultiCam® rated significantly higher than UCP in all environments, meaning that Soldiers wearing UCP were being put at significantly higher risk than if they were wearing MultiCam®. Despite this UCP remains the Army’s official camouflage pattern and is still being issued to this day.

- In 2006, after seeing the ineffectiveness of UCP on the battlefield in Iraq, U.S. Army Special Operations units independently tested MultiCam® against multiple patterns and adopted it. MultiCam® has been proven effective by these units during thousands of combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other theaters. To this day, it remains their issued camouflage pattern for organizational clothing and individual equipment.

- After numerous complaints in 2009 from Soldiers about the ineffectiveness of the Army issued UCP putting troops at risk in Afghanistan, Congress ordered the Army to take swift action to improve the situation. In response, the Army developed another program to test new camouflages. The Army tested sixteen patterns, including newly introduced Army developed patterns in a “Pattern-In-Picture” test against MultiCam®. Results: MultiCam® was cited as best overall performer.

- In early 2010 the Army conducted yet another camouflage test. This time testing five patterns against MultiCam® in numerous Afghanistan environments. Again, MultiCam® outperformed all others. The Army began a limited fielding of MultiCam® in 2010 to serve as an “interim solution” for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), all the while continuing to issue UCP to all troops not deployed to OEF. (The Army re-named MultiCam® as “OCP”.)

- 2011, the Army decided that it wanted to adopt a “family” of camouflage patterns (i.e., in addition to a multi or “transitional” environment pattern), and initiated yet another camouflage testing program. The Army program was launched under the name “Phase IV”, representing the fourth and final part of its most recent camouflage improvement effort. After two years of yet another expensive and exhaustive evaluation, the Crye submission, which was based entirely on MultiCam®, was again selected as the top performer. Crye was advised by PM-CIE leadership via teleconference on May 1, 2013 that its submission had won the final program phase of the camouflage improvement effort, and that a formal announcement would be forthcoming.

- Following the notification about winning phase IV from PM-CIE, Crye assumed that the Army would continue to take advantage of the already well-established manufacturing base for MultiCam® raw materials and end items, as it had been doing for years, as the Army does not currently license MultiCam® from Crye Precision, nor does it pay Crye Precision for its use.

- Instead, Army representatives approached Crye to discuss the market’s pricing of MultiCam® gear (such as uniforms) and told Crye that it would have to deliver “significant cost savings”. Since Crye does not supply the Army’s uniforms, Crye informed the Army that it, just like any other supplier deep in the supply chain, has no visibility on or ability to mandate the prices the government is charged by any of the uniform or gear makers. Crye agreed to do its part in the only way it could, which was by reducing already nominal fees it receives from its licensed fabric printers. Significantly, those fees represent only a very small part of the end-item cost and are deeply embedded in the supply chain (just as a fiber manufacturer or a dye provider is, for example.) Crye asked for nothing in return for offering this fee reduction. Crye’s proposal, which offered the Army a path to achieve immediate cost savings, was rejected outright by the Army.

- During negotiations with Crye, in October of 2013, the Army released a Justification and Approval (J&A) that it planned to issue MultiCam® as the Army’s “principle camouflage pattern”.

- Continuing its efforts to reduce costs to the Army and in an attempt to eliminate the Army’s concerns that MultiCam® was more expensive than UCP, Crye submitted several formal proposals which proved that the Army could procure MultiCam® gear at prices within 1% of UCP gear. Crye’s proposals additionally showed that this could be accomplished with no upfront cost to the Army.

- The Army rejected all of Crye’s proposals and did not present any counter proposals, effectively saying that a proven increase in Soldier survivability was not worth a price difference of less than 1%.

- The Army then requested that Crye provide a buyout price for MultiCam®. Crye advised the Army that a full buyout of MultiCam® was unnecessary, pointing to the fact that MultiCam® was readily available for competitive purchase and that the Army could simply continue its use of MultiCam® service-wide, with no new costs to the Army. In addition, Crye pointed out that this course of action would require Crye to cede quality and brand control to the Army, effectively undermining Crye’s commercial market permanently. As such, this option would have required the buyout price to include the entire lifetime value of the MultiCam® brand, and would have been prohibitively expensive.

- Crye declined to provide a buyout figure, which would have to be well into the tens of millions of dollars, because it was likely that any figure presented by Crye could be used out of context to misrepresent and mischaracterize Crye. It was only after continued requests from the Army, coupled with an acknowledgement from the Army that it fully understood that the cost would be in the tens of millions of dollars, and a promise that all information would be kept in strictest confidence, that Crye then agreed to provide a full valuation for the MultiCam® brand, along with a deeply discounted price to the Army for the buyout being requested.

- As Crye predicted, and despite the Army’s assurances to the contrary, Crye’s offer was rejected outright by the Army. No official counter offers to any of Crye’s proposals were ever provided to Crye by the Army.

- Confidential information provided by Crye to the Army has been released out of context, in a manner that misrepresents Crye as having been unwilling to negotiate with the Army and help it find the cost savings it indicated was its goal. In truth Crye has worked exceptionally hard to help the Army meet its stated goals and continues to so.

- Recent information suggests that the Army is now planning to yet again develop, test and field yet another new multi-environment camouflage pattern.

Summary

In Summary, MultiCam® is one of the most thoroughly-tested camouflage patterns in existence. It has been proven in combat and lab evaluations for the better part of a decade and is currently issued within multiple branches of our Armed Forces. It has been the top performer in every major Army camouflage test of the past decade and has been verified time and time again to provide a significant and undeniable Soldier survivability advantage. Its continued use by Soldiers in Afghanistan and Special Operations Forces is a testament to its effectiveness. MultiCam® materials and end-items are readily available today within the competitive market, and MultiCam® products have been proven to be available for nearly the same cost as UCP items. Despite all this, the Army remains on a persistent quest to replace MultiCam®, all the while it still issues UCP to this day, a camo pattern long-proven to put Soldiers at unnecessary risk.

A sincere thank you to all of you who risk your lives serving in defense of freedom. We remain unwavering in our commitment to you.

Examples of official feedback from Special Operations Forces:


“The MultiCam pattern is an excellent camouflage pattern that truly manages/reduces an individual’s signature on the battlefield. I firmly believe that more Rangers would have been seen
and shot during hours of daylight, if they hadn’t been outfitted with the MultiCam uniform. It’s a true force protection measure!”

“The camouflage pattern saved me and my gunner’s life by concealing us long enough to shoot first.”

“On specific missions where other members of the force were in ACU’s, they were specifically shot at or “drew fire” compared to members wearing the Crye pattern. The camouflage was amazing and
probably confused the enemy. It was very hard to see people at any distance with this uniform.”

“While taking fire in an area with moderate vegetation, the Soldiers wearing ACU’s stood out and received a higher volume of fire at their positions.”

“The MultiCam pattern is a must for combat operations in Afghanistan. We blended in perfectly with mountains of OEF.”

“We were ambushed on 3 sides by Taliban fighters. There was nowhere in my immediate vicinity that offered effective cover, so I dropped to the ground and fought from there. I was able to continuously spot and engage fighters approaching the rear of our formation before they were able to spot me despite the fact that I was laying in the open. I truly believe that your MultiCam uniforms kept me from being shot several times that day.”

And the list goes on…

USAF Security Forces Mandate New Black Gould & Goodrich Molded Nylon Duty Gear For Use With Blues

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

(click to view .pdf)
Atch-2

The US Air Force Force Protection Commodity Council has awarded a new indefinite quantity – indefinite delivery contract for Law Enforcement Black Gould & Goodrich Molded Nylon Duty Gear to ADS, Inc. Black Gould & Goodrich Molded Nylon Duty Gear is intended for use by DAF Civilian Police/Guards and Security Forces military members in blues only. The contract specifies the following 10 Black nylon items:

- Utility Belt (S, M, L, XL)
- Belt keepers
- Handcuff case
- Radio Case
- Single magazine M9 ammo pouch
- Triple magazine M4 ammo pouch
- Chemical spray holder
- Baton Holder
- Silent key ring holder
- Glove pouch

The contract is effective through January 14, 2019. Items are currently available for order. Look for info from Security Forces Center soon.

TSSi Awarded Second Consecutive Five-Year, Multi-Million Dollar Contract From Defense Logistics Agency

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

This is the first of what I expect will be many announcements of the winners of the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) Program. Now, there are two additional companies under contract bringing the total to six. They are TSSi, ADS Inc, Darley Defense and Source One along with new vendors Quantico Tactical and Federal Resources Supply.

I’ve known TSSi owner Bill Strang for over 20 years. During all that time he’s run a great company that offers service at a value. I know this is something dear to him based on his years of military service. Congrats!

Harrisonburg, Virginia, March 10, 2014 - The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support, Philadelphia, announced on March 7, 2014 that TSSi (Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc.), of Harrisonburg, Virginia has again been awarded the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) Program contract. The TLS contract is a five-year contract (two-year base period and three one-year options) that provides logistical support to military commands, federal agencies, and other authorized customers worldwide. TSSi was awarded their original TLS contract in 2009. In addition to TSSi, DLA awarded contracts to five other government contractors. The total estimated contract value to all awardees is four billion dollars over the potential five year contract period.

In order to best serve the end-user, TSSi expanded its workforce and created a department solely dedicated to managing the TLS contract following the initial contract award in February 2009. TSSi’s President/CEO, Bill Strang, commented, “We are proud of the support we have provided the Defense Logistics Agency over the past five years on the TLS contract. DLA has an extremely important mission of providing support to the nation’s warfighters, and they require industry partners who understand the daily challenges faced by the DLA team as well as the needs of their customers. These are the same customers TSSi has been supporting since we were founded nearly 35 years ago. Award of this follow-on contract confirms that we have continued to make improvements to our customer service over the past five years. We have placed an emphasis on going the extra mile to meet the equipment needs and delivery requirements of DLA and our military customers.”

The TLS Program contract expands the procurement options available to federal agencies and military units, streamlines the procurement process, reduces the Government’s warehousing and logistics requirements, and provides rapid response to urgent military requirements. Rebecca Curry, TSSi’s Director of Contract Management for the TLS contract, said, “DLA looks for industry partners who can deliver a quality product, at the best value to the warfighter, on time, every time. With those goals in mind, TSSi has focused on continuous improvement in the service provided to DLA and its customers. This new iteration of the TLS contract will receive the same high level of dedication from the TSSi staff.”

In 2011, TSSi was awarded the DLA Outstanding Readiness Support Award. According to the citation from DLA, TSSi was presented this award for the “…personalized service and specialty products that meet the fulfillment of the day-to-day needs of our customers. They utilize creative sourcing on difficult to obtain products and they accomplish the tasks with a ‘try harder’ attitude.” The TSSi staff is pleased to have the opportunity to continue serving the special operations community with exceptional customer service and dependability through the TLS Program.

Harrisonburg, Virginia, March 10, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support, Philadelphia, announced on March 7, 2014 that TSSi (Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc.), of Harrisonburg, Virginia has again been awarded the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) Program contract. The TLS contract is a five-year contract (two-year base period and three one-year options) that provides logistical support to military commands, federal agencies, and other authorized customers worldwide. TSSi was awarded their original TLS contract in 2009. In addition to TSSi, DLA awarded contracts to five other government contractors. The total estimated contract value to all awardees is four billion dollars over the potential five year contract period.

In order to best serve the end-user, TSSi expanded its workforce and created a department solely dedicated to managing the TLS contract following the initial contract award in February 2009. TSSi’s President/CEO, Bill Strang, commented, “We are proud of the support we have provided the Defense Logistics Agency over the past five years on the TLS contract. DLA has an extremely important mission of providing support to the nation’s warfighters, and they require industry partners who understand the daily challenges faced by the DLA team as well as the needs of their customers. These are the same customers TSSi has been supporting since we were founded nearly 35 years ago. Award of this follow-on contract confirms that we have continued to make improvements to our customer service over the past five years. We have placed an emphasis on going the extra mile to meet the equipment needs and delivery requirements of DLA and our military customers.”

The TLS Program contract expands the procurement options available to federal agencies and military units, streamlines the procurement process, reduces the Government’s warehousing and logistics requirements, and provides rapid response to urgent military requirements. Rebecca Curry, TSSi’s Director of Contract Management for the TLS contract, said, “DLA looks for industry partners who can deliver a quality product, at the best value to the warfighter, on time, every time. With those goals in mind, TSSi has focused on continuous improvement in the service provided to DLA and its customers. This new iteration of the TLS contract will receive the same high level of dedication from the TSSi staff.”

In 2011, TSSi was awarded the DLA Outstanding Readiness Support Award. According to the citation from DLA, TSSi was presented this award for the “…personalized service and specialty products that meet the fulfillment of the day-to-day needs of our customers. They utilize creative sourcing on difficult to obtain products and they accomplish the tasks with a ‘try harder’ attitude.” The TSSi staff is pleased to have the opportunity to continue serving the special operations community with exceptional customer service and dependability through the TLS Program.

Harrisonburg, Virginia, March 10, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support, Philadelphia, announced on March 7, 2014 that TSSi (Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc.), of Harrisonburg, Virginia has again been awarded the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) Program contract. The TLS contract is a five-year contract (two-year base period and three one-year options) that provides logistical support to military commands, federal agencies, and other authorized customers worldwide. TSSi was awarded their original TLS contract in 2009. In addition to TSSi, DLA awarded contracts to five other government contractors. The total estimated contract value to all awardees is four billion dollars over the potential five year contract period.

In order to best serve the end-user, TSSi expanded its workforce and created a department solely dedicated to managing the TLS contract following the initial contract award in February 2009. TSSi’s President/CEO, Bill Strang, commented, “We are proud of the support we have provided the Defense Logistics Agency over the past five years on the TLS contract. DLA has an extremely important mission of providing support to the nation’s warfighters, and they require industry partners who understand the daily challenges faced by the DLA team as well as the needs of their customers. These are the same customers TSSi has been supporting since we were founded nearly 35 years ago. Award of this follow-on contract confirms that we have continued to make improvements to our customer service over the past five years. We have placed an emphasis on going the extra mile to meet the equipment needs and delivery requirements of DLA and our military customers.”

The TLS Program contract expands the procurement options available to federal agencies and military units, streamlines the procurement process, reduces the Government’s warehousing and logistics requirements, and provides rapid response to urgent military requirements. Rebecca Curry, TSSi’s Director of Contract Management for the TLS contract, said, “DLA looks for industry partners who can deliver a quality product, at the best value to the warfighter, on time, every time. With those goals in mind, TSSi has focused on continuous improvement in the service provided to DLA and its customers. This new iteration of the TLS contract will receive the same high level of dedication from the TSSi staff.”

In 2011, TSSi was awarded the DLA Outstanding Readiness Support Award. According to the citation from DLA, TSSi was presented this award for the “…personalized service and specialty products that meet the fulfillment of the day-to-day needs of our customers. They utilize creative sourcing on difficult to obtain products and they accomplish the tasks with a ‘try harder’ attitude.” The TSSi staff is pleased to have the opportunity to continue serving the special operations community with exceptional customer service and dependability through the TLS Program.

www.tssi-ops.com

FN Manufacturing Wins Contract To Build Mk 19 Spare Receivers For The US Army

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Mk19

McLean, VA – March 6, 2014 - FNH USA, LLC announced today that FN Manufacturing, LLC in Columbia, SC has received a new, three year, $7.6 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract from the Defense Logistics Agency to build MK 19 spare receivers for the U.S. Army. This award is in addition to the $27 million contract the company currently has from the U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) to produce MK 19 grenade machine guns through August 2015.

“We are pleased that FN Manufacturing has been selected to produce the MK 19 spare receivers,” said Mark Cherpes, FNH USA President and CEO. “Since its founding in 1989, FN Manufacturing has proudly built a variety of military firearms for all branches of the U.S. Military including iconic products such as the M240, M249, M4 and M16 rifles. We are extremely proud of the high-quality and reliable firearms we build for our service men and women and look forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come.”

www.fnherstal.com

The Army’s Ongoing Schizophrenia Over the Future of Camouflage

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Since November I’ve been watching a rather interesting drama play itself out on Fed Biz Opps, the US Government’s website used to communicate procurement opportunities with the public. Aimed at industry, these postings spell out what the Government is buying. Normally, this isn’t a big issue. But in this instance it involves a constant flip flop over camouflage patterns.

Specifically, the Army wants to purchase 15,000 yards of Permethrin treated 50/50 NYCO fabric. It’s generally used to manufacture the Army Combat Uniform. The Permethrin treatment has been added to the fabric over the past few years as an insect repellant. That isn’t the issue. The issue has been whether to purchase the fabric in the Army’s current standard issue Universal Camouflage Pattern or in the Operational Camouflage Pattern known commercially as MultiCam by Crye Precision.

Originally posted 20 November, 2103, Army Contracting Command at Natick Soldier Systems Center posted a presolicitation, used to give industry a heads up, entitled “To purchase a minimum of 15,000 yards of Permethrin treated 50:50 Cotton/Nylon fabric from an EPA approved vendor” for “an acquisition requirement to purchase a minimum of 15,000 yards of Permethrin treated 50:50 Cotton Nylon (CoNy) fabric from an EPA approved Vendor. Fabric will be in the Operational Camouflage pattern…” Pretty cut and dried right?

OCP Definitely OCP

But then, January 13th came and the actual solicitation was released and they asked for “50:50 Nylon:Cotton fabric in accordance with MIL-DTL-44436B Class 8; Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) (emphasis added) treated with permethrin meeting the requirements of GL/PD 07-13D Type I, Class 2 and GL/PD 07-14D Type I, Class 2, as described in the Statement of Work, Section C, of this solicitation.”

It's gotta be UCP

Naturally, the head scratching began. The purchase of the fabric in OCP was right on track with the “soft launch” transition to OCP from UCP and here the Army is, asking for the old stuff. What was going on? The Army even went so far as to address the issue in a Q&A update to the solicitation. Their statement sounds like it put the issue to bed. But did it?

Q and A

Flipping isn’t any good unless there’s some flopping to go along with it right? Well this story has got some for you. On 06 February, 2014, an update to the solicitation reverted back to the original requirement, “Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center’s (NSRDEC) has an acquisition requirement to purchase a minimum of 15,000 yards of Permethrin treated 50:50 Cotton Nylon (CoNy) fabric from an EPA approved Vendor. Fabric will be in the Operational Camouflage pattern…” Maybe it’s an administrative error, and maybe it’s schizophrenia, but either way, it’s painful to watch. UCP? OCP? Whatever works.

UCP-OCP whatever works

At this point I don’t even bother to ask the Army what they are up to as they have stopped communicating with me regarding camouflage as well as my colleagues at other websites. All any of us can do is watch what the Army does and report on its actions. In this case, ‘schizophrenia’ is the best word I can come up with to describe those actions. Yes, we’ve downloaded the documents and will post them here on SSD if the Army once again decides to alter the public record by deleting solicitation documents.

Hopefully, the Army will choose a single course of action regarding camouflage and make it work. The Soldier, industry and SSD are waiting.

Official Release – Army Awards Military Hardware & G-Code $49 Million for New Holster System

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Right after Christmas we shared the Army’s announcement that they had awarded contracts to Military Hardware LLC and ADS Inc for the new Improved Modular Tactical Holster (IMTH) for the M9 pistol. The Military Hardware entry is a G-Code holster system consisting of the XST holster along with Duty Drop Leg, H-MAR adapter for vests and MOLLE belt mount. Although this article isn’t about them, and for those too lazy to read the original article, ADS is providing the Blackhawk! Serpa holster.

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WILMINGTON, N.C., Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Military Hardware llc announced today they received the U.S. Army’s primary IDIQ award to supply the new Improved Modular Tactical Holster (IMTH), a $49 million contract spanning 5-years. This watershed contract pitted two emerging small businesses against a multi-billion-dollar global aerospace and defense giant. The little guys won.

To win the award Military Hardware partnered with Edgeworks Manufacturing to provide the G-Code XST (Extreme Service Tactical) holster with four separate mounting platforms, exceeding the Army’s bid requirement. Both Military Hardware and Edgeworks are privately held small businesses located in Southeastern North Carolina.

Industry insiders credit Scott Evans, Founder and CEO of Edgeworks, as the original innovator of modular holster design. Military Hardware’s Founder and CEO, F. Scott Harry, said, “A decade ago when I saw the G-Code holster, I knew it was revolutionary. I wanted to be a part of the team that brought it to market.” They humbly credit the many Law Enforcement and Military personnel who have personally bought, used, inspired, and improved the products they offer.

Military Hardware specializes in marketing innovative small manufacturer’s products to the Department of Defense. They constantly collaborate with manufacturing partners and customers on product development. Retired Master Sergeant (USMC) Richard Cover, VP of Sales & Product Development for Military Hardware, is on a military base somewhere almost every day of the week and regularly brings ideas in from the field. Cover said, “We are all hands-on people. We work as a team and every person, from the factory floor to the front office, cares about what we do and who we do it for: the men and women of the U.S. Military.” It’s clearly this great dedication to the people wearing the gear that makes their products excel.

Mr. Harry also credits the North Carolina Military Business Center, a business development entity in the North Carolina Community College System. “I’ve worked with the NCMBC since it’s inception. Scott Dorney (Executive Director, NCMBC) has surrounded himself with knowledgeable people. Teresa Bouchonnet, in particular, has been indispensable to me.”

The IMTH can be purchased online at www.MilitaryHardware.US, by NSN through the Army’s procurement networks, and it will soon be available on GSAAdvantage.Gov. Contact Military Hardware for details.

Marines Seeking Enhanced Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

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In January, MARCORSYSCOM released a pre-solicitation for an “Enhanced Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble” or EFRCE. While it sounds like something completely new, really what the Marines are looking for is a version of the Blouse and Trouser from the Flame Resistant Organizational Gear (FROG) that incorporates but improved fabrics and Permethrin treatment. There are no plans to alter the current cut or design of this popular uniform.

In terms of a general description, EFRCE is similar to the current Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble (FRCE) in the Marine Corps inventory; however, the design and fabrics used to construct the FRCE have been modified to increase durability (as such, producing the EFRCE)…Also, of note, following contract award, each shirt and trouser of the EFRCE must be factory permethrin treated and must conform to the permethrin concentration levels and percent bite protection requirements, as established by the Marine Corps.

They want vendors to use the following fabric types:

Cloth, Type I – Woven, Woodland, Marine Corps Pattern (MARPAT) Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type II – Woven, Desert, MARPAT Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type III – Woven, Navy Working Uniform (NWU) II, Desert Digital Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type IV – Woven, NWU III, Woodland Digital Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type V – Knit, Coyote, Solid (All Uniform Types)

Based on this, as you can imagine, the EFRCE will be offered in 4 variants:

As you can see, the Marines and Navy have no plans to abandon their camouflage patterns anytime soon. But, Marines and Sailors will have a great uniform in both woodland desert variants.

Class 1, Type I EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, Woodland MARPAT, with Durable Insect Protection
Class 1, Type II EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, Desert MARPAT, with Durable Insect Protection
Class 2, Type III EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, NWU II Desert Digital Camouflage Printed, with Durable Insect Protection
Class 2, Type IV EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, NWU III Woodland Digital Camouflage Printed, with Durable Insect Protection

As of now, the EFRCE will be produced by Hub Zone-based small businesses.

US Army Seeking Digital Printing Capability

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Natick has issued a Sources Sought Synopsis looking for companies that are capable of digitally printing on a variety of substrates (fabrics). Additionally, they must be capable of NIR and SWIR compliance. Specifically:

Natick Soldier Systems Center requires rapid printed fabrics for field/lab testing of camouflage patterns for use in woodland, transitional and arid environments that conform to visual, NIR and SWIR requirements.

The Army is interested in prints on 50/50 Nylon/Cotton Ripstop Fabric, 500D Cordura and Rayon/Para-Aramid/Nylon Ripstop Fabric.

Notice in the documentation they reference Woodland, Transitional and Arid patterns? They go on and on about this, repeating it four times which tells me that, despite the contractual machinations currently (not) underway with Crye Precision for OCP (MultiCam), Natick is committed to working with a family of camouflage consisting of a Transitional pattern combined with Bookend Woodland and Arid patterns. Perhaps someone has realized that they actually own the Scorpion pattern (seen below), a precursor to MultiCam developed for the Objective Force Warrior program and can do pretty much anything they want with it. Then again, maybe not.

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At this point, the Army is in a bit of quandry, having banked on a soft transition to OCP. Now, no one seems sure if the Army will be capable of moving away from the UCP camouflage. If a friend asked me in October if I knew what was happening I’d say “yes.” If they asked me now, I’d tell a story that sounds like a plot to an episode of “Three’s Company” and say “Not so much.”

As for trying to keep up; the Army is getting pretty savvy on releasing solicitation notices that deal with developmental camouflage issues on FedBizOpps. Looks like they’ve figured out that folks are keeping an eye on them so they are issuing them without any discussion of camouflage on the actual notice. Take for instance this one. It is titled “Fabric Printing BPAs.” You have to get down into the attachments to see what is really going on. Sneaky, Sneaky. But don’t worry Army, we will keep an eye out for you to help keep you honest. Since the Army likes to alter the public record by deleting postings once they’ve been brought to light on SSD, we’ve included the meat of what the Army is looking for below.

Click to download: CAMO_BPA2_Spec23Jan2014

If you’re interested in answering up, you’ve got until February 4th.

For the full Sources Sought Synopsis visit Fabric Printing BPAs.