The warfighter is always clothed and protected thanks to U.S. manufacturers of textiles, clothing and footwear, the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support commander told American Apparel and Footwear Association members May 10.
“Not once have I served on deployment and we haven’t had access to the right boots, the right clothing and the right protective equipment,” said Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton. “And that’s because of you folks here.”
Hamilton addressed the AAFA’s Government Contracts Committee during their spring meeting in Philadelphia. It was the first time he spoke to the Clothing and Textiles supply chain’s industry partners as a group since becoming commander 10 months ago.
“One thing that I hope you’ll see from me ... is transparency,” he said. “You’re going to get it from me exactly the way it is ... good or bad. I’m going to be transparent.”
He also talked about the uncertain environment that DLA and its industry partners are working through, including the decrease in military personnel, the threat of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and cybersecurity.
Hamilton outlined C&T’s business projections for coming years, in which sales are forecasted to remain steady through 2020 after they declined following the surge in Afghanistan in 2009.
Foreign military sales, including uniforms for Afghan security forces, have boosted sales recently. And Hamilton said he expects those sales to remain steady for the next three to five years.
Following his remarks, Hamilton and then a panel of C&T leaders answered questions from AAFA members. Some members expressed concern about the impact that potential minimum wage increases for their employees will have on the cost of delivering products for C&T.
C&T is sensitive to the topic and looking into possibilities to minimize the impact on industry partners, said Steve Merch, Field Clothing division chief.
The AAFA meeting also included uniform updates from the military services and the U.S. Coast Guard.