Archive for the ‘DoD Acquisition’ Category

US Defense Bill to Supports Made in USA

February 9, 2017

Fabric rolls IDEX.jpgFrom the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO),which represents domestic textile manufacturers, the Senate’s 92-7 vote to pass Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) according to NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo is “a good bill.”  Tantillo says of the bill “It supports American troops, strengthens our national security, and includes many provisions important to the US textile industry.”

The Department of Defense (DOD) sourced roughly $1.5 billion (USD) in textiles and clothing in 2016. Textiles fall under the buy-American procurement provision known as the Berry Amendment. The Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a) requires the Department of Defense to buy textiles and clothing made with 100% United States content and labor.

berry-amendment-berry-compliant-bootsThe FY 2017 NDAA conference report reflects several other positive outcomes for the US based textiles industry. (1) no increase to the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT). Procurements in excess of the SAT require compliance with the Berry Amendment. The SAT level is $ 150,000. If the SAT threshold were increased, contracts might be awarded to international bidders and a lose for US industry. (2) the athletic footwear voucher program that has been in place for decades ended. Now the works begins to ensure all athletic footwear purchased by DoD is Berry-compliant. (3) DoD and the State Department procurement officials have been directed to provide key congressional defense and foreign relations committees updates on how each department is making efforts to ensure US manufacturers are aware of procurement opportunities relating equipping foreign security forces. Information source: http://www.ncto.org

For the complete details please visit http://www.innovationintextiles.com/industry-talk/new-us-defence-bill-to-support-made-in-usa-products/utm_content=47764882&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin#sthash.8yKW5WZO.dpuf

INVISTA CORDURA® Fabric Participates in Military Conferences 2017

January 9, 2017

idex-2017ABU DHABI — IDEX Conference 2017, part of the International Defense Exhibition & Conference (IDEX 2017) and Naval Defense Exhibition (NAVDEX 2017), draws participation of leading security and defense decision makers as well as military program managers from across the world.

Themed Disrupting Innovation in Defense and Security , the conference will be held ahead of IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 at the headquarters of the National Archives in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 18.  The http://saudigazette.com.sa/ reports that this conference will include three keynote sessions:

  1. Disruptive Emerging Technology and Innovation: A New Military Paradigm,
  2. The Next Big Leap in Cyber Defense,
  3. Defense and Security Control/Mitigate Multiple Disruptions.

Register ahead to participate in the conference sessions under the following link: https://secure10.eventadv.com/IDEX/registration/ConferenceReg.aspx?eventid=22fiber-to-yarn-to-fabric-and-product

You know that Picatinny helmet rail?

August 9, 2016
ACH w NVG Mount
Army Combat Helmet (ACH)

 

I am working on a project that includes mounting a new piece of video kit on the Army Combat Helmet (ACH). While looking at one of my developmental helmets from 2005 shook my head a bit and considered all that is old comes back around.  This time the subject is the Picatinny rail.  When the ACH was introduced into the US Army inventory after some modification of the “Mitch Helmet” used in the previous years by US Army Special Forces, the basic version included just the Night Vision Goggle (NVG) mount. THe ACH as first fielded is a far cry from the helmets worn in combat today.

Rail pic b

At the time. the US Army program office for Soldier Clothing and Individual equipment located at Ft Belvoir, VA was looking at each piece of Soldier gear and considering how we could make it better, lighter, or more durable.  Soldiers were being asked to carry numerous new pieces of gear that needed batteries, antennas, lights and so forth.  Operating these new devices “hands free” would be a bonus – especially when you already had your hands full! I talked this challenge over with one of the ACH producers Mine Safety Appliances Co (MSA) and Russ Suchy – he came back to me with a prototype rail system shown below for the ACH.  I don’t know how long this development had been in the works before I diagramed out a pencil drawing of the ACH showing where I thought a rail could be applied. My point was the attachment mechanism for the rail use had to use the pre-existing mounting hard wear and holes. More holes in the helmet = bad.

ACH w Pict Rail v2

Informal internet research finds that the rail itself may stem from work by the “A.R.M.S. company in the early 1980s and Otto Repa in standardizing the Weaver design,” but I cant provide the exact references.  I did review the Mil-STD-1913, dated February 3, 1995 document and can see that at least as far back as 1995 rail capability was known to the US Army.  Interestingly this MIL Standard was focused on small arms.  Picatinny was the supervising office.

Picatinny Arsenal’s role in naming the rail during test and evaluation which created the military standard could be as simple as the official documentation. The MIL STD as recorded on the lowly DD-Form 1426; dated 1989 was overseen by Picatinny. Who knew that the rail would grow to such popularity in use?  Now days on most any special forces blog site you can see variations of how the Picatinny rail has been adopted for helmet mounts.

Rail pic a

MSA’s role changed when Revision Military announced in June 2012 the purchase of MSA’s North American ballistic helmet business. The purchase included the acquisition of MSA’s U.S.-based helmet manufacturing equipment and operations located in Newport, Vermont.

Regardless of whether its MSA, Revision, Gentex, Crye, or a host of other excellent combat producers, the fact that the Picatinny rail seems to be here to stay is without question.  Just look at the variations in helmet mounts (and not even mentioning weapon and hand guard rails!) and you can see that the creative adaptation has not stopped!

Rail pic c

 

New Army Combat Uniform – sort of

June 2, 2015

Comments and references to the in-depth article written by Kyle Jahner, Army Times Staff writer.

OCP shooter us army photo

As we read, the Army finally transitions to new Army Combat Uniform in July – well sort of. This is both a new garment design and a revised camouflage pattern. I say revised because if you follow Army camouflage since 2010 in particular and the Army Camouflage Study you are aware of the extensive process followed to select a more effective pattern than Universal Camouflage Pattern or UCP.  UCP may have moved along to selection at too fast a pace in response to the USMC digital and the quest for just one pattern for all or most environments. We thought the UCP pattern was the best at the time – we now know we missed the mark. We also thought that Velcro (hook and loop) was the best way to close pockets – well, again “yes and no.”

We need to congratulate the Army on is it’s willingness to change and modify what we thought was the best at that time and make it even better. As technology changes and enables improvements such as taking weight out of an item or making an item more durable or more protective for Solider, the Army is right there willing to evaluate these changes and continue to make gear and equipment better. Even in this environment of tight budgets, the Army continues to move forward and improve Soldier capabilities.

The two changes are (1) the selection and naming of Operational Camouflage Pattern as distinct from Scorpion or MultiCam — and (2) eight design changes to the garment design. According to the Army a four-year transitional phase designed is planned.

Col. Robert Mortlock, Army Program Manager of Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, stressed the Army’s “fiscally responsible” integration of the new ACUs.indicated that “We’re going to transition over time.”  According to Army Times writers, Mortlock praised the new OCP as the product of years of operational tests, developmental tests and photo simulations across a wide spectrum of environments. The Army tested several competing patterns including commercial submissions like such as MultiCam, Kryptek, Hyperstealth and others.

Starting next month, through 2019, there will be three different uniforms authorized for wear for soldiers in garriso, (1) ACUs with the gray-green Universal Camouflage Pattern, (2) Flame-resistant ACUs using MultiCam (issued to deploying soldiers since 2010), and (3) ACUs with the new OCP pattern.

Its interesting tThe new Army Combat Boot is coyote brown.hat the Army policy is to allow Soldiers to fall out in 3 different uniforms during this four year transition. Not sure how that will play out at the unit level.  At the same time, the Army is introducing new coyote brown boots featuring 100% Solution Dyed Nylon Cordura fabric.

The uniform rollout will consist of three phases.

July: 19 installations, including Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Benning, Georgia; Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Drum, New York; Fort Carson, Colorado; and South Korea.

Sept: 28 installations, including National Capital Region (including the Pentagon); Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Germany.

Nov: 63 installations, including Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Lee, Virginia; and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

UPDATE: Uniforms and equipment in the Operational Camouflage Pattern will be available for U.S. Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps during summer 2016.  

The uniforms will become standard issue in clothing bags in January.  When asked if the OCP and MulitCam are the same patterns the Program Office answered this way:  “They are different patterns. But they perform very similarly in providing that concealment to soldiers.”  OCP uses a similar color palette of greens, browns and beige as MultiCam OCP seems to have a less intricate pattern, lacks MultiCam’s vertical elements, and has colors that are slightly more green.

A full ACU currently costs $102.04, according to the Army. That includes coat ($41.86), trousers ($42.43), patrol cap ($7.41), riggers belt ($3.73), T-shirt ($4.48) and drawers ($2.13).

Design changes

According to the Army Times article this is what is new from a garment design:

  • Mandarin Collar: A new fold-down design eliminates the hook-and-loop closure and the flap extension.
  • Upper Sleeve Pocket: A zipper replaces the hook-and-loop closure. The Infrared Identification Friend or Foe Tab will be covered with a nylon tap on both sleeves. The pocket will be longer by one inch.
  • Elbow Patch: Internal pads removed along with the hook-and-loop; double fabric reinforcement retained.
  • Sleeve Pen Pocket: Two pen pocket channels instead of three.
  • Trouser Waistband: No longer includes drawstring.
  • Cargo Pocket: No longer includes cord-and-barrel lock.
  • Knee Patch: As with elbow pads, no more internal pads or hook-and-lock, double-fabric reinforcement remains.
  • Lower Leg Pocket Flap: Button Closure added as another hook-and-loop closure disappears.

Gear and accessoriesMOLLE

The Army will also issue organizational clothing and individual equipment in the OCP pattern. That means rucks, body armor and helmets will eventually be covered in OCP material.  While uniforms can mix camouflage patterns, UCP uniforms cannot be worn when using OCP or MultiCam gear. Another note of interest is that the Army decided not to follow the Marine Corps in issuing coyote-brown color equipment.  According to the Army Times, “Our testing indicates that it’s better for concealment if OCIE camouflage pattern matches your uniform. That’s going to provide better concealment,” Mortlock said.

Desert and woodland variants

Getting back to the Army study, the original intent was to have three camouflage patterns: desert, jungle, and transitional. The OCP pattern is a transitional pattern. It’s unclear whether the Army will eventually issue desert and jungle variants of the uniform.

US Army Photo

US Army Photo

The long road from UCP to OCP we all know was started way back when with Future Force Warrior and before and navigated through Scorpion to UCP to MultiCam and finally OCP. For those interested in reliving how we came to be where we are today, please review the complete article at http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/army/2015/06/01/acu-uniform-camouflage-rollout/28166585/  For another even more in-depth analysis check out http://www.hyperstealth.com/c3/

A little Review: Differences between Buy America Act and Berry Amendment

August 8, 2014

PEOsoldier_ArmyCombatShirt

Photo PEO Soldier, US Army

I know its a thoroughly discussed subject but sometimes it’s good to go back to the source and review – just exactly what are the differences between Buy America Act (BAA) and Berry Amendment? 

The Berry Amendment applies to the Department of Defense (DoD) and covers procurement of Clothing,Tents, tarps, and covers,Cotton and other natural fiber products, Woven silk blends, Spun silk yarn for cartridge cloth,Synthetic fabric and coated synthetic fabric,Canvas products, Wool: wool fiber, wool yarn and wool in fabrics, materials or manufactured articles, and items of individual equipment (FSC 8465) containing covered fibers, yarns, fabrics or material. There are five important exceptions to this law (1) Incidental incorporation, (2) Chemical warfare protective clothing from qualifying country, (3) Cotton & wool waste or byproducts for propellants & explosives, (4) Fibers and yarns in synthetic & coated synthetic fabrics for non-textile products: examples include fibers in circuit cards and fibers in SAPI plates, and (5) Para-aramid fibers & yarns (from qualifying countries only).

The Berry Amendment is specific to  DoD procurement where the BAA applies to all federal agencies (the Berry Amendment is IN ADDITION TO the BAA). 

Photo PEO Soldier US Army – MOLLE Pack

Berry Amendment and BAA Differences

  1. Berry is DoD specific, BAA is government-wide
  2. Berry specifies covered items, BAA covers supply purchases
  3. Berry Amendment applies over the Simplified Acquisition Threshold ($150,000), while Buy American Act applies over the micropurchase threshold ($2,500)
  4. Berry requires 100% domestic content, BAA requires 50% domestic content
  5. Berry Amendment has no commercial exceptions for food, textiles, or hand or measuring tools, BAA has exception for commercial information technology
  6. For Berry, qualifying country exceptions exist for chemical warfare protective clothing (all qualifying countries) and   (Netherlands only). For BAA, the qualifying country exception applies to all purchases
  7. Berry applies for contracts performed worldwide, BAA applies to U.S. only
  8. Berry has no contractor certification requirement

Key take aways are that the Buy American Act compliance does not equal Berry Amendmentcompliance and that both laws apply to DoD but Berry is more restrictive.  For more information on which countries fall within the BAA please see DFARS 225.003 for details. Partial list follows as: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

THE FINE PRINT – the Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a), covers textiles, food and hand or measuring tools. Specialty metals are no longer part of this law. Specialty metals are restricted under Section 842 of the FY2007 NDAA. You can find all the details as implemented through the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) at Subpart 225.7002. The contract clauses that apply to the acquisition of the items listed in A.1., above, are DFARS 252.225-7012 and DFARS 252.225-7015 You can also find policy on the Berry Amendment in Procedures, Guidance and Information (PGI) 225-70.  For more information on Defense Procurement and Policy (DPAP) please visit http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpic/ic/berry_amendment_faq.html

Things We Never Thought to Remind the Contracting Workforce

April 22, 2014

While I would love to take credit for these “gems” of contracting wisdom I cannot – it with full concurrence from Mr. George Chavis that I share these “Things we thought we would never have to remind the contracting workforce.”  While this list seems obvious or humorous, from George’s point of view, these are errors he sees everyday.  I thought it was a good idea to share with all acquisition professionals who are the target audience for this blog in the hope that by bringing these errors to the attention of both government and industry contracting professions, the end result will be contracts with fewer errors and required less re-work. 

So lets take a look:

1.    In order for there to be multiple awards, more than one contract must be issued.
2.    Internationally renowned leaders in an industry (e.g. WalMart, Lockheed Martin) are unlikely to qualify as “small businesses” in that industry.
3.    The line items must add up to the total.
4.    Line items must describe what is being bought.
5.    When a line item has two or more separately deliverable parts, the quantity on the line item cannot be 1.
6.    Orders and modifications against contracts and schedules must be placed with the contractor who received the contract or schedule.
7.   “C”-type definitive contracts cannot be used as indefinite-type contracts (IDCs) with “P” modifications acting as “orders.”
8.   “Dollars” are not a unit of measure–we don’t purchase dollars.
9.    When deciding to ship an item, the destination must exist.
10.   In order for an organization or person to be delegated an action (e.g. acceptance), the organization or person must exist and be capable of performing the action.
11.   Acceptance is an inherently governmental function and cannot be assigned to a contractor.
12.   Cost type contracts cannot be paid with a purchase card.
13.   Contracts must be issued in writing in a form readable by humans.
14.   A contract awarded as “firm fixed price” cannot have an “estimated” value.
15.   In order to have “not separately priced” items on an order, it is necessary to also have separately priced items.
16.   A grant is not a contract.
17.   There is no need to send a letter to the people awarded a contract informing them that the funds on the contract have been obligated on the contract.
18.   If you use one identifier for the shipping location, packages can only go to one place.  If you want packages to go to two places you need to identify both locations.
19.   When numbering things sequentially, do not use the same number twice.
20.   When numbering in a specific series, do not start with the last number.
21.   If the format for a numeric field (e.g. total value) allows for “up to” eleven digits, that does not require you to actually enter an eleven digit number.
22.   The contract price has to be part of the contract.
23.   Working for a field organization in the Defense Department does not mean that you are in the “Office” of the Secretary of the Army (or Navy, Air Force, or Defense).
24.   The concept of rounding applies to units and subunits.
25.   You cannot round the amount of funding available UP to the nearest dollar.
26.   You cannot award a contract for more money than the entire Department’s budget.
27.   In order for all deliveries to be complete on a contract, the first delivery must have occurred.
and finally –
28.   One cannot cite as authority for an action a statute that does not exist.

So I hope this list stimulates some thought and maybe a “look-up” to a reference in the Federal Acquisition Regulation to confirm a point or two. Thanks again for compiling this list of commonly found errors in contract data.