TYR Tactical

DOD Textile and Apparel Procurement Fairness Act (HR 2312)

Congressmen Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Larry Kissell (D-NC) co-introduced the Department of Defense Textile and Apparel Procurement Fairness Act which would close loopholes permitting DOD to get around rules in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act meant to limit DOD purchases of clothing and textile-based military equipment from Federal Prison Industries (FPI). FPI currently enjoys procurement preferences. Their workforce is comprised of incarcerated federal prisoners. Although FPI is Government run, as you can imagine, this captive workforce allows them to maximize profit and with directed set asides from DoD they have garnered a great deal of textile related military contracts. For example, in 2010 FPI posted a $36 million profit in their apparel and textile business alone.

This means that businesses that employ law-abiding citizens are losing business to FPI and life saving equipment for our troops is being manufactured by convicted felons. In fact, several times in the past few years Personal Protective Equipment manufactured by FPI has failed testing.

“It is simply wrong for the U.S. government to administer a military procurement policy that favors giving jobs to felons over law-abiding Americans,” said Congressman Jones. “That is especially true during these difficult economic times.”

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) also weighed in on the proposed legislation. “Swift passage of the DOD Textile and Apparel Procurement Fairness Act will create opportunities for job creation within the U.S. textile and apparel industry,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “As we explore every option to create and sustain jobs in the United States, our government should not put the employment of federal inmates over the employment of hardworking taxpayers.”

According information released by the AAFA, “In 2010, the U.S. military spent more than $2 billion on uniforms, camouflage, training gear, and combat footwear for U.S. servicemen and women. Nearly $140 million of that business went to convicted felons in 24 federal prisons around the country under the auspices of Federal Prison Industries (FPI)

HR 2312 would by limit FPI to 5% market share of any one product. It still allows them a place at the table. They just won’t sit at the head. We at SSD applaud the introduction of this legislation and look forward to its switch passage and implementation.

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2 Responses to “DOD Textile and Apparel Procurement Fairness Act (HR 2312)”

  1. cdk says:

    I think HR2312 is a good idea. It is anti-competitive as FPI maintains an unfair labor advantage (a pivotal input cost). In addition, it displaces a significant number of law-abiding American citizens that are looking for employment. At a minimum, critical safety items such as IOTV’s should not be made by convicts.