ASI Supports NCTO Letter on Afghan Uniforms

The American Sheep Industry Association was one of a dozen groups to sign on to a National Council of Textile Organizations letter addressing the need to continue funding the manufacturing of Afghan military uniforms in the United States.

The issue is critical to the domestic textile, apparel and footwear industries.

"For several years, the United States has generously provided funding for uniforms for the Afghan military and security forces as part of our long?term efforts at Afghanistan reconstruction," read the letter. "The provision of such uniforms - required to be made in the United States under the Berry Amendment - now supports thousands of U.S. textile, apparel and footwear jobs in the United States.

"It is our hope that this important program can continue.

"Unfortunately, Section 10004 of the House?passed FY 2018 Defense Appropriations legislation, which has now been approved several times by the House in various formats, still contains a provision that bans funds from the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund from being used to procure uniforms for the Afghan National Army.

"This provision was included during House Committee consideration of this measure in response to concerns raised earlier last year by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. While those concerns were indeed troubling, the Pentagon has since taken steps to address the problems raised by SIGAR. Moreover, Congress has also voted - as Section 344 of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act - to increase oversight and require the preparation of targeted cost benefit analyses to prevent future concerns arising through the procurement of uniforms for the Afghan military or security forces. That provision is now law.

"With this new framework in place, we urge that final FY 2018 defense appropriations bill that will be presented to the president not include Section 10004, or any similar restriction or ban.

"We look forward to working with you to achieve this outcome, which is so important for the U.S. domestic textile, apparel and footwear manufacturing base."

The letter was sent to the chairs and ranking members of both the House and Senate appropriations committees.