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Archive for the ‘COVID-19 Pandemic’ Category

Federal Resources Awarded $2B Contract to Provide COVID-19 RT-PCR Testing Solutions

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Stevensville, MD (February 9, 2020) – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on November 6th, 2020 that Federal Resources has been named as one of four awardees under a contract to supply COVID-19 testing solutions to DHS.  The contract is an indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract with a one-year base period and four additional one-year option periods with a shared ceiling amount of $2 billion dollars.

Since 1986, Federal Resources has been supporting the nation’s military and first responders with safety and security equipment. As the COVID-19 pandemic surged, Federal Resources responded and has delivered billions of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) in support of the federal government’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. This latest award expands Federal Resources’ COVID-19 offering with a contract to provide Molecular Diagnostic Test Kits and Testing Services to DHS customers.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift, Federal Resources remains vigilant in the support of our nation’s first responders and those in need of life saving equipment. To continue to support those who protect us all, COVID-19 RT-PCR test solutions will allow our customers comfort in adapting to the current climate to prevent transmission and lower the risk of spreading infection.

“Our team continues to support our customers and their missions by providing the necessary equipment and solutions to keep them safe.  That is why we are pleased to partner with Fulgent Genetics for these PCR test solutions,” said Larry Gwaltney, Federal Resources’ CEO.  “This recent contract award effectively aligns with Federal Resources’ everyday mission of providing the latest technology and solutions to federal government personnel, the military, first responders, and health care workers on the front lines of this pandemic..”

“Fulgent Genetics (FLGT) is excited to support the Department of Homeland Security’s need for COVID-19 testing. It has been our mission to deliver rapid results for RT-PCR testing, with results available within 24-48 hours of receipt. We have also been hyper-focused on continued capacity expansion. We believe the combination of our turnaround time, capacity and technology platforms designed to deliver COVID-19 testing at-sale makes us uniquely positioned to support the tremendous demand for testing,” said Brandon Perthuis, Fulgent’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Testing is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling early detection and contact tracing. RT-PCR testing provides the highest sensitivity and specificity and continues to be the gold-standard test for COVID-19. We look forward to applying our expertise in testing to help the Department of Homeland Security”.

Federal Resources is proud to continue its support of DHS and its components by providing multiple mission critical solutions. For a more comprehensive review of Federal Resources’ equipment and procurement solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit us at

For the Pandemic and Beyond, Wearable Technology Points the Way

Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

Like all the best ideas, this one started with a question – a question about how to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus; refined over a series of meetings between U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command scientists and researchers in the early days of the pandemic. For Cmdr. Christopher Steele, director at USAMRDC’s Military Operational Medicine Research Program, it was a question that would ultimately guide what’s become a nearly year-long funding effort.

“For active duty personnel and civilians, we wanted to know – what does ‘normal’ look like from a health perspective?” says Steele, repeating that initial query once again during a conversation in early 2021. “And how do changes from normal translate to early detection of disease?”

The answer to that question may soon be found on your finger, on your wrist, or even around your neck. Just as a pair of vaccines for COVID-19 have become available to the American public, USAMRDC is pushing the limits of its virus research even further. The goal: to develop wearable technology to detect the virus before a person might even begin to notice symptoms – however slight or subtle – in the first place.

“Having some wearable measurements on how you’re doing leading to [infection] is extremely helpful,” says Steele, “because we can understand additional concerns about your health and if they need to be taken more seriously for quarantine procedures or for advanced care.”

USAMRDC’s quest to find technology capable of detecting pre-symptomatic exposure to the virus began in March 2020 – just weeks into the pandemic – as part of a joint funding opportunity between both MOMRP and USAMRDC’s Military Infectious Diseases Research Program. As part of a planned program announcement, a total of seven wearable technology projects were selected for funding through the Command via its partnership with the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium; the latter entity using a unique contracting tool called an “other transaction agreement” (or, OTA) to facilitate the delivery of advanced technology prototypes for a wide array of military-relevant injury conditions. Of those seven investments, one of the more promising efforts is a proprietary algorithm being developed jointly by Dr. Ashley Mason, an assistant professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. Benjamin Smarr, an assistant professor with the Department of Bioengineering and Data Science at the University of California, San Diego.

In a recent study, Mason’s team showed that wearing a so-called “smart-ring” – a wearable device that generates continuous temperature data – may foreshadow the presence of COVID-19, even in cases when infection is not suspected. By analyzing data from 50 people previously infected with COVID-19 who agreed to wear the ring (which, in turn, came equipped with the aforementioned algorithm) Mason and Smarr found the ring accurately identified higher temperatures in people with symptoms of COVID-19. Ultimately, the algorithm may help lead to earlier isolation and testing – thereby potentially curbing the spread of infectious diseases.

“Continuous temperature assessment allows us to look at [human patterns of change] by allowing us to analyze changes in temperature as processes,” says Mason, noting the difference between continuous and single-point temperature monitoring. “If we think about temperature as a process – imagine a wave – then we can start to ask questions that go beyond, ‘are you high or low in temperature,’ [and] we can examine the shape of the waves both within one person over time and we can compare the shapes of peoples’ waves to each other.”

Mason’s work was initially sponsored by Finnish company Oura Health (who agreed to provide the “smart rings” used in the study), which gave her team a substantial amount of early data on virus exposures compared to other external groups. In July 2020, MTEC began funding Mason’s multi-pronged TemPredict study, providing key infrastructure resources. Then, last month, Mason’s team published the study’s aforementioned initial findings in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

“Having a device that’s doing surveillance on you at the time and to say, ‘hey there’s something different about you’ – those are potentially powerful opportunities to intervene before a situation becomes a lot more complicated to treat,” says Steele.

While it is not known how effectively the algorithm-enabled smart ring can detect asymptomatic COVID-19 infection, Mason’s team reported that in 38 of the 50 participants (or, 76 percent), fever was identified when symptoms were unreported or even unnoticed. According to Mason, the second leg of her TemPredict Study, which was launched in early December and has already enrolled tens of thousands of participants across the globe, will continuously apply the algorithm to the participants’ smart ring data, then alert participants when the algorithm suggests COVID-19 testing is warranted.

“[The algorithm] does seem to be working well,” says Dr. Jenifer Ojeda, Health Science Program Manager at USAMRDC’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, and additionally the science officer providing DOD oversight on Mason’s award. “It is detecting early – pre-symptomatic, if you will – cases, and with some degree of fidelity.”

Still, Mason’s algorithm – which is intended to be agnostic and not exclusive to any one particular device – is just one of many entrants in this particular race. Other performers receiving funding – including the makers of the Fitbit family of trackers and smartwatches – are using their own, internally-developed platforms, while others are utilizing off-the-shelf platforms to meet their end goals.

While Steele admits USAMRDC is likely months away from receiving an actual, refined product to review, it is possible such a product could be developed and then deployed during the current COVID-19 pandemic. That would depend, of course, on a chosen performer delivering the kind of clear and consistent data demanded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for such devices. Regardless, this kind of technology clearly has a role in any kind of future, similar public health emergencies, and would make a substantial impact on the ability to detect illness on the future battlefield as well. The latter, while an ancillary perk for now, may indeed provide a showcase for any wearable technology’s likely ultimate benefit: to provide a near-continuous level of support and resilience to any U.S. Soldier across the globe.

Says Steele, “Wearables may be the premise that allows for truly integrated telemedicine content because now you have the ability to measure a person from a distance, or outside the clinic, or anywhere.”

By Ramin Khalili

“Essential” A Film Featuring PPE Manufacturing By Outdoor Research

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Our friends at Outdoor Research recently released their film, Essential.

Essential shows the incredible teamwork and commitment of the Outdoor Research factory team, and teaches us about the power behind U.S. manufacturing. Outdoor Research has been a leader in U.S. made outdoor apparel and accessories for 40 years. Four floors of its 7-story headquarters building in Seattle, WA are dedicated to factory production space.

A 40-year history of rapidly developing cutting-edge Outdoor, Military and Tactical products provided Outdoor Research the ability to quickly shift to supporting the personal protective needs of the medical community.

The entire company is fully committed to ensuring that doctors, nurses, health-care workers and first responders have the personal protective equipment they require to effectively care for their patients. 

Highly respected in the outdoor industry for developing functional solutions for extreme environments, Outdoor Research has a history of successfully leveraging the best commercial market technologies to serve the needs of the armed services and first responders. Over the past two years the company has conducted a comprehensive review of the U.S. supply chain and is in active development with textile mills and materials providers to expand and elevate the capabilities of products that are 100-percent American-made. 

Over the last two years Outdoor Research has made significant capital investments designed to improve and modernize its Seattle factory. In May of 2019 the company opened an additional new, wholly-owned factory in El Monte, California. These investments allow Outdoor Research to take advantage of the company’s global knowledge of design, materials, and innovative manufacturing techniques while producing the next generation of outdoor and tactical products at its facilities. OR has continued to accelerate its product-development cycle, allowing the latest innovations to be rapidly fielded to the end user, helping increase the mobility and protection of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, first responders, outdoor enthusiasts, and now the medical community.

Watch Essential to see how OR pivoted their business in March of 2020 to serve the needs of frontline healthcare workers and essential hospital staff.

This film is dedicated to Outdoor Research production staff and essential workers around the world. We encourage you to share this film, and the story of the OR factory team, as you are able.

US Army Micro-Atomizer Contributes to COVID-19 Research

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD – A device patented by researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC) is being commercialized as a tool in the study of COVID-19.

The micro-atomizer, U.S. Patent 8,882,085, is a device that produces an aerosol spray on a very small scale for studying aerosolized particles inhaled by humans. The micro-atomizer has a .005 in diameter sample pass through — slightly larger than a human hair. This invention allows scientists to scale things down into a much smaller space to model what would happen on a larger scale.

DEVCOM CBC biologist Michael Horsmon, senior engineering technician Richard Kreis, and retired Army scientist Charles Crouse are the inventors behind the micro-atomizer. This product was developed to enable detection, protection and decontamination technology development geared toward protecting the warfighter from toxic chemical agents by simulating those agents on a micro level using aerosol spray.

While the micro-atomizer was developed as a research tool in chemical agent protection, it can also be used to simulate human sneezing, hacking or coughing. This will enable researchers to model the COVID-19 flow that would be expelled by someone who already has it. According to Kreis, “by allowing the molecules to get down to the same size as you would with COVID-19, it is easy to replicate continuously, repeatedly and accurately.”

Techlink, the DoD’s national partnership intermediary for technology transfer typically reviews all government patents and publicizes technologies that are ripe for commercialization. “We were notified by our partner, Techlink who’s in Montana, that there was interest in this patent. Our office investigates the status of patents and if there are existing prototypes. When we investigated, we learned that there were no more prototypes, so we went to the Research and Technology Directorate and asked them if they were willing to fund a few more prototypes because of the commercial interest and they agreed,” said Matt Jones of the Center’s Technology Transfer Office.

The test was a success and the company signed a patent license agreement this year. The inventors are currently focusing on reproducing the micro-atomizer and building the product consistently. The goal is to commercialize it so that it is available worldwide. “Universities, industry and other government agencies can use the micro-atomizer and it can be used in fields ranging from aerobiology, toxicology, and maybe even generating aerosols of coding materials for protection of surfaces. It has a wide range of uses,” Horsmon said.

By Richard M Arndt

DOD utilizes 3D-printing to Create N95 Respirators in the Battle Against COVID-19

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity’s Warfighter Expeditionary Medicine and Treatment Project Management Office, as part of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s Additive Manufacturing Working Group, has played an integral role in the ramped-up effort to produce N95 respirators for healthcare and frontline workers across the nation. As stated on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, an N95 respirator is “a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles.” Compared to a surgical mask, which is loose-fitting, the edges of the N95 mask are designed to form a very tight seal around the individual’s nose and mouth, providing the highest levels of protection against infection from COVID-19.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Daniel Williams serves as product manager of the WEMT PMO’s N95 respirator efforts at USAMMDA. These include coordinating programmatic and regulatory support, leveraging existing government resources, and developing synergies within the Department of Defense’s organic industrial base to successfully generate N95 respirator products. He explained that his primary task is to ensure the medical device meets military needs and regulatory requirements, and that development of the product remains on schedule and within budget.

In a recent interview, Williams offered a great deal of insight with regard to USAMMDA’s N95 respirator efforts, and the work to produce and distribute these products as quickly as possible in the battle against the spread of COVID-19 throughout our nation and the world.

JS: As product manager within the WEMT PMO, please describe your responsibilities in regard to the N95 respirator effort.

DW: The N95 effort is a slightly atypical experience, in that we are primarily working with DOD partners who have never manufactured medical devices. However, they have extensive experience in various methods of manufacturing, including additive manufacturing, also known as three-dimensional, or 3D, printing. So, our primary responsibility is assisting these DOD manufacturers in navigating the medical device world, including compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health regulations. Further, we facilitate test and evaluation of their products, by leveraging DOD laboratories and government partners to obtain performance feedback on respirator prototypes.

JS: Please describe the features of the N95 respirator, and why this device is superior to others currently on the market. What is its significance, especially with regard to COVID?

DW: It’s not so much superiority, as it is availability. One of the highest levels of respiratory protection for medical purposes, to include viral infection, is a NIOSH-certified N95 respirator. These come in multiple forms, but all are held to the same standard of filtering at least 95 percent of relevant particles, such as the Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 virus. Most people are familiar with what is called an FFR, or a Filtering Facepiece Respirator. These are the standard disposable, one-time-use products typically worn by our healthcare workers. However, at this time, these types of masks are nearly impossible to 3D-print. Our group has been working on what is called an elastomeric half-mask respirator, which is a reusable frame produced by a 3D printer, with a disposable media or cartridge that filters at the 95-percent level.

When the pandemic hit, the on-hand supply of N95 respirators, specifically FFRs, was quickly exhausted and traditional N95 manufacturers were not prepared to meet this new demand. Therefore, the primary purpose of the N95 working group is to develop N95 respirators to supplement existing supplies of respirators, as well as to develop new manufacturing capabilities within the DOD’s organic industrial base, which consists of military arsenals, maintenance depots and ammunition factories. Ensuring the DOD has the capability to independently manufacture protective respiratory devices will help to protect frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will also help to maintain our military readiness in the face of future pandemics or biothreats.

JS: Please detail the current status of the N95 program, and explain what lies ahead.

DW: Currently, we’ve partnered with multiple organizations across the DOD including the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Defense Logistics Agency to support N95 respirator design, manufacturing and distribution through existing logistics. To date, we’ve facilitated testing of 18 iterations of respirator design, and two have successfully passed preliminary evaluation at the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Chemical Biological Center. Our next steps will be to assist these manufacturers with the NIOSH application and process, to obtain an N95 certification for these respirators. Further, we are continuously seeking new partners within the DOD who have N95-related efforts, so that we may be able to assist.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly illustrated that civilian medical supply chains were unprepared to rapidly scale-up production of critical medical supplies such as medical personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators. Although this crisis will end, the next one could come along at any time. Additionally, the impact of critical medical supply shortages on military readiness could occur again in future battlefields from natural pandemics or biothreat agents. By continuing to focus on producing medical devices within the DOD organic industrial base, we can translate the lessons we’ve learned with medical PPE shortages into better preparedness for the next medical crisis, as well as for future conflicts in a Multi-Domain Operational environment.

JS: Why was the WEMT PMO tasked with the N95 respirator effort?

DW: The WEMT PMO’s everyday mission is to develop and deliver medical devices to our Service partners in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our program office was able to naturally pivot and leverage our staff’s medical product development expertise and apply it to the crisis at hand. This is truly what project managers do – we find creative ways to deliver effective, suitable and timely medical solutions when and where they are needed most.

JS: Please list the other members of the N95 respirator program team, and detail their responsibilities in the overall effort.

DW: The team has been phenomenal and is comprised of many professionals. However, the N95 program is actually a subgroup of the USAMRDC’s Additive Manufacturing Working Group, and nothing could have been accomplished without its assistance and guidance. The AMWG oversees three specific product lines: diagnostic swabs, ventilator parts and accessories, and the N95 respirator. As the lead for the N95 line of effort, I was tasked with outlining FDA and NIOSH requirements, initiating agreements between organizations, and leading an N95 working group to facilitate collaboration amongst all of our partners.

The N95 team specifically, can really be split into three different components, and we’d be nowhere without the ongoing collaborative effort from each component. First are our manufacturing partners, the U.S. Navy Underwater Warfare Center-Keyport, U.S. Forces Korea, Defense Logistics Agency, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. These organizations have the technical and subject matter expertise to not only design an N95 respirator, but actually to produce it through additive manufacturing methods.

Second is our AMWG team members at USAMRDC, comprised of the Office of Regulated Activities, Office of the Principal Assistant for Acquisition, Legal office, and USAMMDA’s Office of Research and Technology Applications and the WEMT PMO. The USAMRDC ensures all regulatory requirements for the respirator have been met, appropriate agreements are in place between organizations, and that any concerns with patents or intellectual property on the respirator designs have been addressed. It also provides clinical expertise on potential products, and facilitates test and evaluation of N95 respirator prototypes.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center. The CCDC CBC has been evaluating all forms of respirators for decades, and has an unparalleled knowledge of respirator design and evaluation. Once our manufacturing partners have produced a prototype, it is sent to CCDC CBC for evaluation, to determine whether it will meet the NIOSH standards for an N95 respirator. The CCDC CBC has been critical in providing performance feedback and offering design suggestions for our manufacturers, allowing iterative prototyping to expedite development of respirators.

JS: Other than for the current pandemic, what are some other (future) uses of the N95 mask?

DW: The N95 was thrust into the spotlight as COVID-19 is an airborne respiratory illness. However, the N95 respirator has long been used as medical PPE to prevent against other airborne illnesses, as well as in industrial settings to protect workers against airborne environmental toxins. Therefore, even when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the N95 respirator will still be a much-needed product in these types of situations.

JS: Is there anything else you would like to say regarding the N95 working group?

DW: Tireless effort is put in on a daily basis, from N95 working group members internal and external to USAMMDA and USAMRDC, USAMMDA’s higher headquarters. It has been such an honor to work with such an amazing group of professionals, spanning the medical and non-medical communities, and a truly unique experience to see so many different specialties come together for a common goal. I am extremely grateful to have been a part of it, and I would like to say a sincere “Thank you” to everyone involved!

USAMMDA is a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, under the Army Futures Command. As the premier developer of world-class military medical capabilities, USAMMDA is responsible for developing and delivering critical products designed to protect and preserve the lives of Warfighters across the globe. These products include drugs, vaccines, biologics, devices and medical support equipment intended to maximize survival of casualties on the battlefield.

Always Ready: 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Executes Negatively Pressurized Conex-Lite Training Mission

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021


The 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron held a COVID-19 patient movement training using the Negatively Pressurized Conex-Lite at Ramstein Air Base, Dec. 14-18.

The week-long training ended with a proof-of-concept flight on a C-130J Super Hercules, solidifying the entire process of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa COVID-19 patient transfer capabilities for the 86th Airlift Wing.

“It was the first time an NPC-L has taken off, at least in U.S. European Command, having a training mission on it, all the assets, and coordinating the integration from the ground piece to the in-flight piece,” said Capt. JD Pilger, 86th AES training flight commander. “Previously, everything was done on the ground, so this is a big deal. The capstone for the week was getting this thing airborne and proving this concept and capability for EUCOM.”

Operations such as these are historically placed within the Air Mobility Command, specifically at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. The initial force training was only conducted there for the entire Air Force, which would then piece together teams and send on deployments to provide this capability operationally.

In July, however, AMC started a flagship initiative to send certified trainers to Ramstein AB to certify 86th Medical Group and 86th AES personnel to be the initial cadre on the NPC-L. This established an organic capability located overseas, therefore widening the pool of certified personnel to the force, said Maj. Josh Williams, 86th AES operations flight commander.

From the 721st Aerial Port Squadron, loading the NPC-L onto the aircraft to the 86th MDG and 86th AES infectious disease team ensuring proper personal protective equipment was worn during each scenario, multiple units were called upon to contribute to the training.

“The training was for developing another force package for the 86th AW, to enable us to move COVID-positive patients utilizing the NPC-L,” Pilger said. “The force package entails members from the 86th MDG, the 86th AES and additional folks over at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, such as our Critical Care Air Transport Team.”

The NPC-L is a smaller version of the Negatively Pressurized Conex, an isolated containment chamber intended to transport individuals with infectious diseases like COVID-19. While the NPC is used on C-17 Globemaster III, the NPC-L was developed for use on a C-130J.

“Pursuant to a U.S. Transportation Command joint urgent operational need request, (the NPC) was fielded, and the follow on to that was the NPC-L,” Williams said. “That is what we’ve now developed our teams and force packages within the 86th AW to support. (The NPC) is actually loadable on a C-130 and can transport patients in EUCOM, as well as U.S. Africa Command.”

Up to nine ambulatory patients, four litter patients, two CCATT critical care patients, or variations thereof, can be transported in the NPC-L.

During the training, Airmen were presented with various patient-transfer scenarios and worked together to execute the mission both on the ground and in the air.

“It was a true team sport throughout the whole thing,” said Capt. Zachary Gooch, 86th AES operations support flight commander. “We could not have done it without the support from Air Terminal Operations Center, maintenance or the medical group.”

Having this organic capability enables Ramstein to provide COVID-19 patient movement overseas without the need for assets deployed from AMC.

“I think we proved that this can be done without having a deployed asset that rolls in and sets up shop,” Gooch said. “We did it, basically, from grassroots.”

By SrA John R. Wright, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

S.O.Tech Reaches a 300,000 Mask Milestone While Incurring a Sad Loss

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

It was with great pride that this week the S.O.Tech team delivered our 300,000th cloth facecover, but that news turned somber when we learned that a dear friend to the company, Deputy Tim Tellez, died battling COVID-19. So we dedicate our accomplishment to Tim’s memory, and we will continue the effort for Tim and other fallen first responders.

If you’ve seen a picture of police gear on SOTECH’s website, it was probably strapped onto Tim, we just cut his face out and blurred his name badge. He took gear design to heart and was always there to give thoughts and feedback on patrol officer gear because he cared about his fellow LEOs.  He was a 20 year veteran of LASD. We will be making a donation in his honor.

Not only was S.O.Tech able to deliver the 300,000 masks, but we have been able to fill major military, aerospace and law enforcement contracts in the face of a pandemic strained supply line.  We are proud of the teamwork exhibited by our staff.

The Army’s Official Face Mask to be Issued to New Soldiers in 2021

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

The official Army-designed, -tested, and -refined face mask – the Combat Cloth Face Covering (CCFC) – will be provided to new Soldiers during the second quarter of FY2021. This was one of the updates provided to the Army Uniform Board (AUB) during its 152nd meeting, which occurred on Nov. 18.

In response to the current pandemic, the Army has largely provided disposable or reusable, solid color masks to Soldiers who have also been permitted to use neck gaiters and other cloth items, such as bandanas and scarves, as face coverings. This past summer, the Army Uniform Board recommended and General James C. McConville, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, approved issuing CCFCs to Soldiers at Initial Entry Training (IET) as part of their clothing bag. At the 152nd AUB, Army officials said that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) will begin issuing two CCFCs to each new Soldier during the second quarter of FY2021. The CCFCs will likely be available for purchase at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) uniform stores later in FY2021. (Note: Existing guidance on face coverings for current Soldiers remains unchanged and can be found at the end of this article.)

The CCFC was designed, developed, and produced along an expedited timeline. It normally takes 18–24 months for DLA to have the item available for order once the technical description, design, and components are approved and submitted. The CCFC, from inception to issuance, is slated to take less than one year.

The AUB also received updates on the implementation status of four other uniform changes from the 151st AUB, which took place in June 2020. A summary of these follow:

Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform-Female (IHWCU-F): Expected to be added to the clothing bag in the fourth quarter of FY2021 and available for purchase in the second quarter of FY2022.

Hot Weather Army Combat Boot-Improved (HW ACB-I): Expected to transition to DLA Troop Support for new contracting action in the second quarter of FY2021 and be available for purchase by FY2024.

Black Athletic Socks: DLA estimates the sock will be available in the clothing bag in second quarter of FY2022.

Army Physical Fitness Uniform-Maternity (APFU-M): Prototypes are in development. The Army is working with the Air Force and Marines on their past maternity uniform efforts in order to expedite pattern development. Form, fit, and function evaluations are expected to occur in the third quarter of FY2021.

The AUB also discussed additional clothing articles, including items for new and expecting mothers. More information will be provided about these discussions in 2021 after Senior Leader decisions are made.





By Kinsey Kiriakos