5 January 2012

US Congress action on FR rayon fiber is positive step for US producers of TenCate Defender™ M Fabric for US Military

TenCate applauds lawmakers’ approval of legislation to protect troops and ensure supply of flame-resistant uniforms. 

Congress included language in the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to eliminate future restrictions on the use of FR (flame-resistant) rayon fiber by the US military. The FR rayon fiber is a critical component in the flame-resistant uniforms worn by American troops in combat. These specialized uniforms provide substantially improved protection from burn injuries caused by the effects of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The uniforms are made using TenCate Defender™ M, a fabric manufactured by American workers in numerous states.In previous years, US Congress had provided legal authority for the military use of FR rayon fiber imported from any country with a standing Memorandum of Understanding for defense trade with the US.  But, that authority was due to expire in January 2015 by virtue of a sunset clause.  In the 2012 NDAA, Congress repealed the sunset clause. 

Signed by the President of the United States 

This new, permanent grant of authority went into effect immediately when the President signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act into law on December 31, 2011. 
The US Department of Defense (DoD) and America’s textile industry are now free to plan on a reliable, long-term supply of FR rayon fiber for as long as it is deemed essential to protecting American troops in crisis areas.

Reliability of the supply chain  

For the past three years, the companies and the workers involved in the production of flame-resistant uniforms using TenCate Defender™ M fabric had urged the Congress to change the law in order to provide certainty about long-range availability of FR rayon fiber. It was important to preserve the viability of the domestic workforce, strengthen the supply chain, encourage investment, and ensure the continued ability of the industry to provide these uniforms when requested by the DoD. Over 25 companies in 20 states, representing over 10,000 American jobs, were involved in this effort. 

Troops deserve the best protection  

“Congress deserves credit for taking this important step for American troops, and the workers who take pride in supplying their uniforms”, says John Shadinger, President, Defense and Tactical at TenCate Protective Fabrics. “It will ensure that our troops can continue to wear uniforms that provide the best burn protection and total performance, while ensuring that American workers can continue making them”. 

TenCate Defender™ M fabrics  

TenCate Defender™ M fabrics are made from a unique fiber blend that includes Lenzing FR® Rayon. It was selected by the DoD in 2007 in response to the critical need to better protect American troops from burn injuries on the battlefield. After winning multiple solicitations from the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Air Force, and US Navy, it continues to be the fabric of choice because of its optimum balance of flame resistance, durability, comfort, and cost. 

Proud of what we do and who we are 
“On behalf of TenCate and our partners in the textile industry, we wish to thank everyone that made this congressional action possible. We will continue to do our utmost to provide the very best protection to all that proudly wear the uniform of an American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine.” 

TenCate Protective Fabrics North America  

Union City, Georgia (USA), Thursday 5 January 2012

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