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Warrior Protection And Readiness Coalition (WPRC) Commends Approval Of FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act And Welcomes New Members

Monday, November 30th, 2015

WARRIOR PROTECTION AND READINESS COALITION COMMENDS APPROVAL
OF FY 2016 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT AND WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS

Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition Secures Critical Legislative Successes for Domestic Industrial Base and Grows Membership

MARBLEHEAD, MA (November 30, 2015) – The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC) commends the United States Congress and President Barack Obama for adopting meaningful reforms and important legislative initiatives to maintain the strength of the domestic industrial base in support of our warfighters and peacekeepers. WPRC members advocated tirelessly for several provisions that were included in the final 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by the President on November 25, 2015.

The WPRC successfully advocated for and secured an important provision (Section 884) that discourages the use of “lowest price technically acceptable” (LPTA) contracting methods for items of personal protective equipment (PPE) and critical safety items. The NDAA states that the service branches, overseen by the Secretary of Defense, shall “use source selection criteria that is predominantly based on technical qualifications of the item and not predominately based on price to the maximum extent practicable if the level of quality or failure of the item could result in death or severe bodily harm to the user.” Items of concern include combat helmets, body armor, ballistic eye protection, and other similar individual equipment issued to U.S. military personnel and manufactured in the United States by members of the WPRC.

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee-­Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee and Representative Rob Wittman (R-­VA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee joined to lead the effort in Congress to maintain this important provision in the final NDAA text. This language is critically important to ensuring that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and operators are equipped with the safest, highest performing equipment and that the American taxpayer is receiving the best value for their dollars.

Ensuring that technical qualifications and capability take precedence over lowest possible pricing ensures a combat advantage for U.S. service members and consistently higher quality equipage. Best Value contracting is the most appropriate acquisition tool to prevent unnecessary injuries or casualties for those in harm’s way. WPRC members will continue to advocate for the use of Best Value contracting methods and ensure that the Department of Defense recognizes the importance of this provision to the health and safety of our service men and women.

In addition to this achievement, WPRC also successfully ensured the inclusion of language directing the Department of Defense to comply with previously passed directive language from the FY 2014 NDAA requiring the Secretary to “submit, as part of the defense budget materials for each fiscal year, a consolidated budget justification display that covers all programs and activities associated with the procurement of personal protection equipment (PPE).” The report states, “The committee expects the Department [of Defense] to comply with section 141 of the fiscal year 2014 NDAA and strongly encourages the Department to consider including similar budget displays for environmental and fire resistant clothing, footwear, and organizational clothing and individual equipment [(OCIE)] as well.”

Providing this information, as directed by Congress, will allow Program Managers and Project Officers, as well as WPRC member companies to better plan for the future needs of our Armed Services and properly allocate, budget, plan, and deliver superior clothing and equipment. A letter was also recently sent from several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Rep. David Rouzer (R-­NC) requesting a detailed plan for how the Department of Defense will comply with this reporting requirement in the FY 2017 budget. The implementation of this simple yet critical step in the Department of Defense budget process ensures that the U.S. industrial base that supports our armed services is provided the essential information needed.

Another priority for WPRC members is ensuring that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is complying fully with the Kissell Amendment, which requires the Department to purchase American-­made clothing and individual equipment where applicable. Earlier this year, the WPRC requested that the Department conduct an internal audit to identify how DHS has implemented and complied with this law. This process is ongoing, however Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-­NH) has called for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) independent audit of DHS to study how the Department has implemented the Kissell Amendment. WPRC leaders are working with Senator Shaheen and other Members of Congress to hold DHS accountable and ensure compliance with the law.

WPRC Executive Director David Costello said, “The legislative success our Coalition has achieved is a result of the bi-­?partisan recognition of the need to sustain innovative American manufacturing that supports our troops. This national asset provides our service members with a distinct advantage in both training and combat and is increasingly essential to the readiness of our warfighters and peacekeepers. The WPRC is grateful for the support of our congressional champions who have ensured this collective effort becomes effective legislation.”

As the WPRC continues to expand its advocacy efforts, new companies continue to join the organization as members. Recently, Bluewater Defense, D3O Impact Protection, Navajo Fabrics, and Worthen Industries have joined with 40 other companies to add their voice to the WPRC. The added impact of these industry leaders will be critical to advancing the WPRC mission to support the equipment and advanced clothing needs of the Armed Services and Department of Homeland Security.

Bluewater Defense – Bluewater Defense is a leading manufacturer of uniforms and equipage for the U.S. Department of Defense. During the past 28 years, the company has focused on manufacturing labor intensive, sewn items per military specifications ? successfully completing 74 large contracts totaling $800 million in revenue. www.bluewaterdefense.com.

D3O Impact Protection – Located in North Carolina and Virginia, D3O is a groundbreaking impact protection solutions company that licenses a range of unique patented smart materials. The market-­changing D3O technology is used to produce a shock absorbing material that can be found in a range of products across the motorcycle, sport, footwear, electronics, military and workwear sectors. Military forces benefit from head-­to-­toe D3O technology solutions that range from combat helmet liner systems to footwear insoles. www.d3o.com.

Navajo Fabrics – Navajo Fabrics is a Westerly, RI based diversified manufacturer of military uniform, police, tactical and equipage fabrics. Navajo is a leading supplier of fabric for the military, law enforcement, public safety, medical, and security markets. Navajo’s business focus is to produce fabrics for OCIE (Organizational Clothing Individual Equipment) as well as unique solid colors and camouflage patterns for specialty missions and specific environments. www.navajo-­fabrics.com.

Worthen Industries – Worthen Industries’ UPACO Footwear Products Group has been custom compounding, reacting, and extruding products for every operation of footwear, including military and law enforcement products, and allied trade manufacturing for over 40 years. Based in Nashua, NH, the UPACO group offers systems for waterproof footwear, film adhesives for both sole (in-mold) and upper footwear applications. In addition, UPACO offers liquid bonding adhesives (both solvent and water-­based, natural, and synthetic), standard hot melts, and polyurethane reactives. www.worthenindustries.com.

The WPRC supports the readiness of the United States by providing a unified industry voice to the U.S. Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security and other stakeholders. We work at the intersection of the Personal Protective Equipment and Organizational Clothing/Individual Equipment industry, the federal legislative policy process, and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Our membership includes companies throughout the equipment and clothing industry and with companies at every point in the industrial supply chain who represent the best in American manufacturing.

About WPRC

WPRC is the unified voice of advocacy for the individual and unit level equipment needs of the warfighter and peacekeeper. The leading tactical equipment, apparel, materials, and technology companies of the WPRC are committed to ensuring that American service members and Homeland Security personnel are provided with superior products built by a robust industrial base, now and in the future. For a complete listing of WPRC member companies, please visit www.warriorprotection.net.

WPRC Announces Newest Members

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

We are pleased to share this announcement from the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition regarding new membership. We see several great companies joining this organization and it’s been quite educational to join them each year in Washington as they engage Congress on equipping issues.

WARRIOR PROTECTION AND READINESS COALITION (WPRC)ANNOUNCES NEW MEMBERS
Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition Welcomes Three New Additions to the Board of Directors and Six New Industry Members

MARBLEHEAD, MA (July 31, 2014) – The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC) is pleased to announce three new members of its Board of Directors and the latest additions to its membership, including several leading companies in the warfighter equipment and clothing industry.

The three new industry representatives who have joined the WPRC Board of Directors include; Don Vavala of W.L. Gore and Associates, Frank Montie of Brookwood Companies, and Nate Smith of Oakley/Eye Safety Systems (ESS). The WPRC Board of Directors represents a cross section of the personal protective equipment industry, providing organizational governance and setting the strategic direction of the WPRC. These new Board members join current WPRC Board Chairman Luke Hillier and WPRC Secretary David Bohannon as leaders of this not for profit industry
association.

The new company members of the WPRC include: Lion Vallen, Outdoor Research, Burlington/International Textile Group (ITG), New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., Patagonia, Inc., and CamelBak Products LLC. The added voices of these leading companies will be critical to advancing the WPRC mission to support the equipment and advanced clothing needs of the Armed Services and Department of Homeland Security.

Lion Vallen – Lion Vallen is a global leader in supply chain and lifecycle management of protective clothing, equipment and uniforms. LVI has a deep commitment to delivering superior services that support customers’ personal safety, readiness and professional identity needs. www.lionprotects.com.

Outdoor Research – Outdoor Research is a designer, developer, and manufacturer of apparel, glove systems, and accessories designed for the military and outdoor markets. Products for the U.S. military are manufactured at their own facility located in downtown Seattle. A full range of products is commercially available at www.outdoorresearch.com.

Burlington/ITG – Burlington leverages its advanced R&D with a diverse range of high performance manufacturing capabilities and a complete range of fiber/fabric blends that deliver state of the art military and commercial solutions worldwide. Their fabric portfolio encompasses applications for extreme weather apparel; camouflage combat and utility materials, tenting, shelter fabrics, shipboard covers and ballistic materials. Information on their military product offerings may be found at www.burlington.com/military-technical.

New Balance – Headquartered in Boston, MA, New Balance is focused on building global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is currently one of the few major shoe companies that continue to manufacture athletic footwear in the United States. In 2013, 1 out of every 4 pairs of shoes New Balance sold in the U.S. was made or assembled in the U.S. www.newbalance.com.

Patagonia – Based in Ventura, California, Patagonia, Inc. is a leading designer and retailer of core outdoor, alpine, fly fishing, snow, surf and sport related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories. Patagonia is a world leader in apparel design, the development of protective garments and an industry pioneer in environmentalism. For more information on Patagonia and their commercially available products, please visit www.patagonia.com.

CamelBak – CamelBak is the leading manufacturer of hands free hydration systems. Special Forces, soldiers and law enforcement around the world use their Military & Tactical products. These offerings include water bottles, hydration packs, backpacks, and protective gear designed for a variety of climates and terrain. A full listing of these military and tactical products as well as commercially available gear is available at www.camelbak.com.

“The new Board members of the WPRC bring a wealth of industry experience and strategic thinking to our ongoing efforts to ensure our men and women in uniform have sustained access to the best American made equipment and clothing,” said David Costello, Executive Director of the WPRC. “We are grateful for their dedication to the WPRC as well as for the participation of our six newest Coalition members in our efforts to support those who serve our country”

The WPRC supports the readiness of the Armed Services by providing a unified industry voice to the U.S. Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security and other stakeholders. We work at the intersection of the Organizational Clothing/Individual Equipment industry, the federal legislative policy process, and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Our membership includes companies throughout the equipment and clothing industry and with companies at every point in the industrial supply chain who represent the best in American manufacturing.

Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition Holds 5th Annual Day on the Hill

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

I’d say that it’s more important now than ever to work together as an industry. America currently enjoys an industrial base, unprecedented in history, that exists specifically to support the Warfighter. For that industry, this isn’t the time to take a back seat and hope for the best, but rather, to take steps to ensure an enduring role in supporting our nation’s most formidable weapon, it’s Warfighters. Many companies have already joined the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition or are involved in other, similar lobbying efforts. It’s imperative to organize in order to better raise awareness on Capital Hill of what strides have been made and what we can lose if the relationship between industry and Government is not properly fostered. The industry is feeling the effects of a changing demand for its products. For many years, the military has purchased equipment in a “feast” mode. All along, the industrial base has worked to develop better ways to protect our troops. Now that it would seem a “famine” has begun, we must not lose the momentum it has taken so long to build. Measures can be out into place to help soften the blows of Sequestration and to generate the next generation of protective equipment technology. One way is through the budgeting process and to do that requires Congressional support.

Now in its 5th year, the WPRC Day on the Hill brings together industry partners and key Congressional Leaders to share ideas and concerns regarding equipping our troops, now and in the future. We don’t want the protection of our troops to become an afterthought. The best way to ensure a viable industrial base is to proactively engage decision makers. Right now, the WPRC is the best, unified voice, our industry has.

Member companies of the WPRC will meet with Congress April 8th and 9th to recommend reform of procurement practices to improve U.S. manufacturers’ ability to develop and produce individual military equipment and clothing critical for mission readiness.

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 8th, 2014 – For the fifth consecutive year, member company representatives of the WPRC will travel to Washington to build awareness for the essential part of the U.S. industrial base that manufactures the personal equipment for the Armed Services, such as operational clothing, body armor, knives, boots, and optics, and advocate for the improvements needed to streamline government procurement practices and ensure the United States maintains a robust industrial base with key technical capabilities.

Acquisition reforms being recommended by the WPRC include:

  • Adhere to “Best Value” performance-based contracts for critical warfighter equipment and restrict the use of “lowest price technically acceptable” contracts.
  • Increase the visibility of warfighter equipment and clothing funding in Department of Defense budgets to sustain industry’s innovation investments.
  • Extend the Berry Amendment to the Coast Guard and TSA components of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • “The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition serves an essential role of advocacy and education on behalf of the innovative companies who manufacture equipment and clothing for our Armed Services,” said David Costello, Executive Director of the WPRC. “Our Coalition is comprised of the leaders in advanced US manufacturing, with capabilities that range from creating ballistic ceramic plates for body armor to the next generation of camouflage. Our work to maintain and build upon the capabilities provided to the warfighter and peacekeeper by our industry has never been more important. As a Coalition we remain committed to lending our voice to supporting the needs of those who serve our country.”

    For a list of WPRC members, visit warriorprotection.net/members

    HASC Interested in PPE As Well As Camo

    Friday, June 7th, 2013

    It’s been a busy week at the House Armed Services Committee where they’ve been working on the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. In fact, it passed out of committee with a vote of 59-2 and is expected on thd House floor next week. And while, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the Enyart Amendment that directs all of DoD to adopt a common camouflage combat uniform, there are plenty of other Soldier Systems items on their plate.

    From the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee we’ve seen language that:

    1) Creates budget line items for protective equipment. This will move money out of Operations and Maintenance accounts and into procurement accounts providing more visibility of funding to industry in the Military Department’s budgets.
    2) Provision requiring DOD to contract with a Federally Funded Research Center to study the procurement methods used to for protective equipment
    3) Provision requiring the DOD to report on their body armor strategy to increase innovation, reduce weight, etc.
    4) Provision requiring report on plan to provide female specific clothing and equipment.

    Additionally, from the Chairman’s mark there is:
    1) Language requiring IG to audit Berry amendment compliance
    2) Directive report language to evaluate the risks of use of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Contracting and Reverse Auctions for critical safety items and protective equipment.

    The HASC characterized the bill in summary press release available here but this how they refer to their work on warfighter equipment:.

    “The bill facilitates the development of ever more functional, lighter, and more protective body armor by requiring each service to create a separate procurement budget line for personal protective equipment- thus making body armor a more traditional weapon system acquisition program that can build on successive generations of innovation and investment, rather than the ad hoc procedure now in place. The bill also requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a comprehensive study and assessment on ways to improve personal protective equipment for female service members.”

    We asked our friends at the Warfighter Protection & Readiness Coalition for their thoughts on HR 1960 and they offered us this statement:

    “The WPRC applauds all of these legislative steps by the House Armed Services Committee that support warfighter readiness and ensure equipping the individual warfighter is a continued priority. This bill recognizes that warfighter equipment acquisition reform is needed to sustain industry’s innovation investments and production capabilities to meet future force requirements.”

    Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition is Looking for a Few Good Companies

    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

    The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition will be at SHOT Show recruiting new members to join their association of industry leaders advocating for the individual equipment needs of the warfighter. Here are some details they provided to us.

    The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC) is the unified industry voice engaged in advocacy, industry education, and grassroots efforts focused on our mission – to support warfighter readiness by ensuring American service members continue to train and fight with superior gear. Amplifying your company’s voice through the Coalition on issues such as needed funding lines and procurement reforms will increase the pace and probability of improvements and positively impact your business.

    With the severe defense budget pressures and force drawdowns, significant risks and uncertainty exists to the current standard of operational equipment providing tactical advantage to the warfighter. This standard must be maintained to ensure warfighters never again enter conflict insufficiently equipped.

    The WPRC is engaging the newly sworn in Congress to expand our successful multi-year efforts to build “on the record ” awareness for the need to continue funding for individual and unit level equipment while also improving related procurement processes to ensure industry can best innovate, produce and deliver superior equipment in the future.

    Add your company’s voice to the Coalition. A unified industry voice in this sector is a critical and historically missing component of warfighter readiness. We welcome the opportunity to discuss WPRC membership with you at the SHOT Show. To set up a meeting and learn more, please contact Craig Heilman at craig.heilman@warriorprotection.net and see our website at: www.warriorprotection.net

    The WPRC members are: ADS, Inc., ArmorSource, LLC, Bates Footwear, BAE Systems, Benchmade Knife Company, Bluewater Defense, Brookwood Companies, Inc., Ceradyne, Inc., Darn Tough Vermont, Drifire, 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.

    WPRC Soldiers First Panel at AUSA

    Friday, October 19th, 2012

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    Join the Warrior Protection & Readiness Coalition from 2-4 PM on Monday, Oct 22nd as they present a panel discussion on the Future of Soldier Equipment Innovation hosted by Defense News’ own Vago Marudian. Only at AUSA

    www.warriorprotection.net.

    WPRC Web Site Wins National Award after ADS Ventures-led Redesign

    Thursday, September 27th, 2012

    The Web Marketing Association announced today that www.warriorprotection.net, the recently launched homepage of the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition, has won its 2012 Award for Outstanding Achievement for Web Development in the Non-Profit Standard of Excellence category. Liesl Grebenstein and Matt Sparkes of ADS Ventures teamed with the design group at BlueLuna of Waltham, MA to develop the aesthetics, content and interface of the new and vastly improved WPRC site. The ADS team initiated the re-design in an effort to provide the WPRC with a more user friendly and dynamic portal as part of a broader marketing and member development program. Congratulations to the BlueLuna team for this outstanding recognition.

    For more information the Web Marketing Association 2012 award recipients visit www.webaward.org.

    Silynx Hosts Congressman Roscoe Bartlett

    Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

    Last week was a big week for those in the Soldier Systems industry. Not only was there a panel of Congressmen who spoke on the subject organized by the WPRC, but there were also meetings between industry and members of Congress to discuss the importance of individual protection initiatives in light of the current federal budget.

    Silynx Communications, Inc also had the privilege of welcoming Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, for a tour of its research and development facilities. The meeting included a discussion on ways to ensure the men and women in uniform are equipped with the best tactical communications systems available.

    “Congressman Bartlett has a long history as an advocate for the men and women in uniform, and the small businesses that support them,” said Gil Limonchik, CEO, Silynx Communications. “We were honored to host the Congressman for a tour of our R&D facilities, and a discussion on what industry and policymakers can do to best equip and protect American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. It is Silynx’s mission to do so to the best of our ability, and we are grateful for the Congressman’s support in our efforts.”

    Congressman Bartlett said, “Silynx has developed a critical combat capability to provide our Special Operations Forces with a state of the art modification of their radios so that they will maintain audio operational awareness as well as protection for their hearing from potential damage. I am hopeful that this protection can be rapidly extended to all of our military during deployment as well as training. This would be important even if hearing loss was not among the most common injury our troops have been experiencing. Standard issue ear protection is not sufficient.”

    Silynx’s combat-proven C4OPS and Micro C4OPS have been widely used in the past 3 years and adopted by US Special Operations Forces (US SOF), NATO Special Forces, FBI SWAT, and the US Army Rapid Fielding Initiative.

    www.silynxcom.com