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Improvements Underway With Military Procurement

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

A coalition of textile and apparel manufacturers that has been working for some time to streamline military procurement practices has reached agreement with Department of Defense (DOD) officials on a number of steps that should improve the process. The agreements surround the so-called Berry Amendment, which requires the military to purchase goods made in the United States unless they are not available from domestic sources.

Noting that meetings between DOD officials and suppliers of textiles and apparel have led to the development of a strong partnership, Michael Mansh, chairman of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), said he is encouraged by what AAFA called sweeping changes in the  procurement processes.

Textile and apparel manufacturers for some time have expressed their concern over the need for more timely awards of contracts, narrower spreads between minimum and maximum orders, and the need to take a new look at the shade evaluation process, among other issues. There is apparent agreement to address these problems.

Although the improved practices were described as a first step, officials both inside and outside of the government agree progress has been made.

The coalition, known as the Group of Six, comprises AAFA, the National Textile Association, The Parachute Industry Association, Clemson Apparel Research and the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute.

October 7, 2008