The letter to Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, urges compliance with the Berry Amendment, which requires the Pentagon to give preference to U.S.-made goods in its procurement practices.
“Recently, however, DOD has started circumventing this policy by issuing cash allowances for soldiers to purchase their own training shoes,” states the letter, which was signed by 52 members of Congress.
“We should not rely on other countries, particularly those who may have competing global interests, to supply our forces with basic items. 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.,” the letter states.
The Air Force Times reported in June that Air Force Master Sgt. Steve Adachi twice was issued boots made in China after repeated attempts to receive boots made in the U.S.
The letter initiative was led by Reps. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Mike Michaud, Maine Democrat and member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
“The U.S. military not only defends American interests, but it represents American strength across the globe, including our domestic manufacturing capability,” said Mr. Hunter, who served as a Marine Corps officer in Iraq. “Utilizing American-made uniforms and equipment to the fullest extent possible should be a non-negotiable part of efforts to guarantee our forces are provided the highest quality and most effective resources available.”