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News | Aug. 21, 2023

DLA spearheads dress uniform support to Papua New Guinea military

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Nearly two days’ worth of travel and 9,075 miles from Philadelphia to Papua New Guinea, representatives from Defense Logistics Agency’s Clothing and Textiles supply chain met with PNG-Defense Force customers in-person August 3.

After months of collaborating virtually, the team briefed PNG-Defense Force leaders on dress uniform updates, along with DLA Indo-Pacific and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command representatives. In May, the Deputy Secretary of Defense authorized support for 15,000 dress uniforms up to $7 million to the PNG-DF ahead of a national parade celebrating the nation’s 50th Independence Day September 2025.

Air Force Col. Matthew Harnly, C&T Director, said the visit was great for relationship building beyond a joint engagement for clothing support.  

“Dress uniforms are a key visual presentation of pride for a nation and the members who wear them,” Harnly said. “It was inspiring to be on the helping-side of that engagement and to see how the PNG-DF team responded to our visit.”

David Johns, C&T deputy director, concurred the visit was important on a more strategic level, as the meetings were critical in furthering the relationship between Papua New Guinea and the United States, considering the recently signed Defense Cooperation Agreement.

“It helped to build trust between all parties,” Johns said. “The visit was important on a micro-level to fully understand their dress uniform requirements. “ 

The visit was composed of two parts, said Chris Gaudio, a C&T supervisory customer relation manager in attendance. The first meeting with directors of PNG-DF services, comparable to Navy, Air Force and Army to make color, fabric, and style decisions for 47 items including sizes, for dress shirts, trousers/slacks, headwear, shoes, socks, belts and insignia.

The second half of visit was dedicated to finalizing decisions and briefing to the PNG-DF Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Goina, which he gave ‘thumbs up’ on, Gaudio said.

“For example, for the shirt, the decision was to have a short sleeve shirt with a front pocket on the left, with the bird of paradise badge, basically their [insignia] on the right,” Gaudio said.

Gaudio emphasized that meeting in person was critical to getting to this decision-making process.

“We have a weekly call with these [PNG-DF representatives] and our counterparts in Indo-PACOM, and we tried to get this same information from them since this [engagement] started,” Gaudio said.

From examples of current uniforms sent by the PNG-DF team, C&T had samples made to match, which the team took with them, said Ashley Liddle, C&T dress uniform integrated support team chief.

“We went there with some [uniforms] that we currently have already in stock and then we showed them [items] our contractors made specifically for them, and different types of cloth,” said Liddle. “There were a lot of different decisions we had to make.”

C&T’s next steps of support include providing cost estimates and timing projections on when pre-production samples will be available for the PNG-DF’s review, based on final personnel numbers. They’re also working with are working with DLA Indo-Pacific on developing a transportation plan for the bulk shipment of uniforms in early 2025.

“The mood [of the PNG-DF team] was so very nice, very grateful,” Liddle said. “Goina said [the uniforms] will be a big morale boost and he was very appreciative. They’re just excited.”

Goina also invited the C&T and Indo-Pacific support teams back to attend the parade in 2025, Gaudio said.

“We’ll be able to see the uniforms we provided so it will be a gratification at the end to see what we [supported] throughout the couple years,” Gaudio said.