12 January 2011

TenCate Applauds the US Congress for extending Defense Department's Authority to Buy Flame-Resistant Uniforms

TenCate Protective Fabrics USA applauds the decision by the US President and the Congress to extend, to January 2015, the Defense Department's authority to buy flame-resistant uniforms that are giving U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan the best total performance in terms of protection, comfort and cost.

The fiscal 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which the President signed on January 7, 2010, provided a two-year extension to a waiver to the Berry Amendment that was due to expire in January 2013. The Berry Amendment requires that Department of Defense buy, with few exceptions, 100 percent American-made food, clothing, fabrics and specialty metals. Congress originally enacted the waiver in 2008 to give the Pentagon the authority to buy uniforms containing flame-resistant fiber because rayon fiber is no longer produced in the United States.

'Congress deserves credit for taking this important step for our troops and the U.S. textile industry,' says John Shadinger, President, Defense and Tactical at TenCate Protective Fabrics USA. 'It will ensure that our troops can continue to wear uniforms that provide the best total performance and that American workers can continue to make them.'

A vibrant amount of U.S. Jobs
Flame-resistant rayon fiber has unique qualities that make it a preferred part of Department of Defense's solution for flame-resistant uniforms for ground forces. A vibrant U.S. industrial base of over 10,000 jobs in severla states relies on this raw material to manufacture these important uniforms for personal protection.

The 2013 expiration date spurred concerns that, without the certainty that an extension would bring, the U.S. textile industry could not make needed long-term investments to manufacture the uniforms and the Pentagon could not be assured that it would have them when it needed them. Stable access to critical raw materials stimulates the U.S. textile industry to innovate and invest. That, in turn, feeds a healthy and competitive industrial base that gives Department of Defense the best technologies and creates jobs for American workers.

The U.S. textile industry has been urging policy makers to extend the waiver so it can continue to make, and the Pentagon can continue to buy, the uniforms that our troops need and deserve. The flame-resistant uniforms, which the troops began receiving in 2007, have significantly reduced deaths and injuries from burns that are increasingly caused by our enemies' use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The Congress deserves credit for taking this important step for our troops and the U.S. textile industry.

TenCate Protective FAbrics North America
Union City Georgia (USA) Wednesday 12 January 2011

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