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Coalition To Address Government Procurement

Four major textile trade associations have formed a coalition to address ways to improve federal government procurement of textiles and textile end products such as uniforms, protective clothing, shelter and a variety of other items.  The Textile Industry Coalition on Government Procurement, organized by the National Textile Association (NTA), includes NTA, The National Council of Textile Organizations, the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition and the US Industrial Fabrics Institute.

The goal of the group is to improve government procurement practices and policies with the Department of Defense (DOD), initially, and to address increasing homeland security needs. Also high on its priority list is preserving the integrity of the so-called Berry Amendment that mandates the purchase of only US-made textiles and end items for our military forces. 

The coalition also will be supporting legislation to extend the Berry Amendment requirements to Department of Homeland Security procurement.

NTA's Government Textiles Committee Chairman, Bruce LaFlam, Milliken & Company, said: "As the needs of our military continue at a high rate, we think it is essential for US textile manufacturers to work with the Defense Logistics Agency and the military services to improve the procurement process from the point of view of the customer and supplier.  Our goals address both of these issues."

Some textile manufacturers have been meeting for a considerable length of time with DOD procurement officials to work out kinks in the system in an effort to ensure that domestic manufacturers of textiles and end items can continue to meet the increasing and changing needs of the armed forces.
Although some progress has been made in that regard, US textile companies believe more must be done. 

They see a need for better forecasting to address government and industry planning issues, and the need to reduce the risks of order fluctuations that tend to result in too much or too little capacity being devoted to government needs. They want to improve communications and educate government procurement officials about the unique complexities of the fiber/textile/end-item supply chain.

The Coalition will conduct a seminar on military issues in Charlotte on October 21, in conjunction with IFAI Expo 2008. 

- James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent