After a U.S. airman refused to wear Chinese-made combat boots while deployed to Afghanistan this summer, a bipartisan group of legislators are calling on the Pentagon to review their uniform policies.
Authored by Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and co-signed by 50 fellow House members, a letter sent today to the Defense Departmentâ??s Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Frank Kendall expresses a desire to see troops in uniforms that are 100 percent American-made.
The letter asks Kendall to examine the Defense Departmentâ??s compliance with the 1941 Berry Amendment, which stipulates that DoD give preference in procurement to domestically manufactured goods.
â??We should not rely on other countries, particularly those who may have competing global interests, to supply our forces with basic items,â? the lawmakers wrote. â??This is especially true when there are millions of Americans looking for work. More importantly, our soldiers deserve to fight in uniforms, including footwear, that are made in the U.S.A.â?
Air Force Times first reported in June that Air Force Master Sgt. Steve Adachi took a stand against wearing his issued Chinese-made combat boots. When he asked if he could exchange the boots for an American-made product, he was told â??good luck,â? the publication reported.
Air Force officials have said the Berry Amendment does not apply to all procurement situations because its requirements can be waived for buys less than $150,000.
Last week Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also sent a letter to Kendall asking the Pentagon to comply with the Berry Amendment.
A spokesman for Kendall has told media outlets that DoD policy is to buy American boots and uniforms, and will remain so.