DOD: There is Much More to This Than China Made Boots

Made_in_USA

I salute Master Sgt. Steve Adachi. We need more like him.

To this day I have not forgotten the story — Air Force Times of Master Sgt. Steve Adachi who was willing to fight for his country, but not in the Chinese-made boots his unit gave him. Brave fellow, he stood up and he won that battle for Made in USA boots.

Asian Defence had a different take than us Patriotic Americans. NO_CHINA_BOOTS

I kept thinking there might be other issues to discover as a result of Master Sgt. Adachi bringing this issue to the forefront.

I suspect his American made military boot was manufactured by American Made Work Boots, Belleville or Bates. They seem to be the top three Made in USA boots. I think it is safe to assert that all of the products that are required to assemble the final boot are not Made in the USA. I suspect it’s one of those globalization things.

I did learn that hiking boots do a better job in mountainous terrain in Afghanistan. Hope the Master Sergeant will not be heading into the mountain regions of Afghanistan and wear out his new boots that were Made in the USA.

Just in case BaseOps publishes on the net a Afghanistan Deployment Gear List: Deployment to Afghanistan they have two recommendations for hiking boots that are military compliant. BaseOps recommends Salomon Explorer GTX Hiking Boots (manufactured in China) and Asolo FSN 95 GTX Hiking Boots (manufactured in Romania). Oh well.

recalled_bootsThe Marine Corps recalls new boots from war zone, article dated February 2013. Marine Corps’ intention is to make these “all terrain” “RAT boot the new standard, with plans to add it to the sea bag in 2012. It will replace the Infantry Combat Boots that Marines have worn since 2002.” From what I can tell the RAT boot is off the table now you can purchase them at variety of sites for $69.00 or less. Seems to me Marines might spend a good deal of time in those mountains of Afghanistan. Wouldn’t you think if that was true the Marine Corps just might look at the hiking boot?

Lets hope that Noah Grove does not have to be deployed to Afghanistan again for he may not have his favorite boot. I found a review on the Bates Boots site written by a Noah Grove, “When I was on my first deployment to Afghanistan, I was searching for a lighter, more comfortable boot to wear than our issued boots. I stumbled upon the Bates M-9 desert boot, and decided to give them a try. Well, 1 more Afghanistan deployment and 1 Iraq deployment since then, and the only boot I wear are M-9’s, they are by far, the most superior boot I have ever worn. I checked on Bates Boots and I found no M-9’s so perhaps they are no longer available.

A bright light emerged when Senators realized “We can increase American footwear manufacturing jobs at no cost to the federal government simply by your [meaning Obama] directing the Department of Defense to align its athletic footwear procurement policies to those it has already adopted for other footwear, such as combat boots, service shoes, and other uniform items. See. New Balance may receive a boom from this. What could be a forward thinking move would be that Congress stipulate that dollars handed out to military for footwear the monies should be spent on products Made in the USA.

It seems soldiers on the ground are far ahead of DOD and our Congressional leaders (no surprise here). Now that we are suppose to exit Afghanistan by January 2014 they will purchase tons of hikers. BTW I think we will keep a substantial force in Afghanistan past the 2014 date with I bet some bonafide soldiers the others will be a shadow military from the likes of Blackwater.

The Army Banned the Vibram FiveFinger’s which seemed to be a favorite among Special Ops. The Navy seems to have green lighted the toes-shoe and the Marine Corps and Air Force does not have a service wide ban decision is left to individual commanders.

The DOD received a waiver moons and moons ago to provide a chit to soldiers to purchase new uniforms and boots. One can only hope that BaseOps, Military Boots Direct and Military Exchanges catch on and recommend the New Balance solution. If they do our Master Sergeant may stand a chance to purchase military compliant athletic hikers Made in the USA.

Military Boots Direct is an online retailer for purchasing U.S. Military complaint boots. Not all the boots are Made in the USA.

I was not successful in researching vendors whose boot products are sold in military Exchanges. I also could not find that DOD had any edicts that boots had to be Made in the USA if sold in Exchanges. I did find that they restricted shelf space for tobacco products and that smoking cessation products must be displayed alongside tobacco products. Restrictions may exist. Exchanges are run by small businesses contract approved by DOD and controls of products seem to be limited since Exchanges all over the globe operate under laws of the nation state. Exchanges on closed military bases may be different but again I found no restrictions placed on boots.

As widely reported the made in China boots were purchased by DOD as a result of being granted waivers from the Berry Amendment enacted in 1941. The Berry Amendment has suffered revisions over the years and a slew of waivers granted to DOD.
It appears that when the DOD comes knocking at the door of Congress asking for waivers DOD faces little resistance. In fact DOD over the years has been granted over 38,000 waivers for a wide variety of purposes .
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An Aside

We must ask why DHS is exempted from the Berry Amendment?

TSA Sealed $50-Million Sequester-Eve Deal to Buy New Uniforms however uniforms will be partially made in Mexico. My fellow patriots the TSA will spend over a $1000 per person over the course of a year on uniforms.

Citing Security, Critics Blast Mexican-made Border Patrol Uniforms

The source of the uniforms can be traced, I believe, to VF Corporation which has tentacles all over the globe and loads of brands. My hit is that they outsource for apparel manufacturing thus the Mexico uniform connection. They have North American distributors and if you go to Welcome to the Online Ordering System you can discover that the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, United States Park Service Police and Bureau of Land Management acquire products from them as well.

Damn I am still reeling that my Fig Newtons are made in Mexico.

Made_in_the_worldThe WTO has launched its Made in the World Initiative therefore expect that Made in the USA will disappear. Will this make the Berry Amendment obsolete?
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DOD indicated they used a waiver that allows them to make purchases of $150,000 or less of foreign products this resulted in the purchase of the Chinese boots. DOD claimed they were trying to save dollars for the taxpayer. I personally do not buy their argument. DOD has waivers for a number of reasons that apply in a war theater. Of course many are warranted others I would take issue with. See a massive number of types of waivers (be prepared the pages seem endless).

The following are unclassified reports to the President and others: DOD Purchases Reports from Foreign Entities. (Yikes a lot money diverted from the US economy)

Year 2010 DOD Foreign Purchases ReportDOD_LOGO
Year 2011 DOD Foreign Purchases Entities Report (Appropriations 2012)
Year 2012 DOD Foreign Purchases Entities Report (Authorizations 2012)

The above reports, to me, represents just how vulnerable and dependent the U.S. is in terms of gearing up for a major, major war, not a skirmish, but a war that means we would be fighting for the very survival of the United States homeland. If I were the President or a member of Congress I would look at the reports and determine if DOD purchases were a source of purchasing power for small business operating in the U.S.(ones who did not outsource) that would have the possibility to increase American jobs. I would also look to see if the purchases would be a source of sequester cuts.

I was reading that DOD indicated that various products from foreign sources were needed to produce military uniforms in the United States. One specific product was rayon, non-flammable rayon. Seems we get that product from Austria. The DOD was granted a waiver because rayon is no longer manufactured in the U.S.. I looked up how rayon is manufactured it seems quite doable as a manufacturing source in the U.S.. The waiver expires in 2013 See Article and some in Congress want a permanent waiver while others like Senator Graham feels if a permanent waiver is granted then U.S. companies would be disincentivized to do the necessary research and development for the ‘most’ perfect rayon. Frankly I bet there is a lot of lobbying taking place.

However talk about our well informed Congress I found this on the official Army Military website Self-cleaning clothing: wear without wear and yes the Army is paying for the research. And as the researcher, Quoc Truong, physical scientist at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, says “In the next few years, you can expect to see self-cleaning clothing that will also be flame resistant and odor free”. Sorta puts the waiver expiration issue on Graham’s side but I bet Graham doesn’t know about this and maybe looking after the Dupont’s of the world interests. I do hope I am dead wrong. This breakthrough may make rayon a non-issue.

Patriots in an article I wrote on Natural Conservatism and Common Sense titled America Needs a Timeout and I stand by that statement. For whatever the reasons be they trade treaties, you scratch my back and I will scratch yours kind of thing or even that DOD is caught up in the web of economic liberalism and politician promises it simply has to stop.

I think we could use Master Sgt. Steve Adachi in Congress to ask real questions and demand Made in the USA answers.

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