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Michaud Delivers New Balance Sneakers to DOD and USTR
Ends doubts about ability to source Berry-compliant training footwear for troops
WASHINGTON, DC – In recent weeks, doubts have been raised as to whether or not American companies can make shoes that comply with the Berry Amendment, which is a federal procurement law that requires, among other things, that the military be outfitted in American-made uniforms. This requirement includes footwear.
In response to these concerns, Representative Mike Michaud had his staff hand deliver two pairs of American-made New Balance sneakers today to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Also delivered were Berry Amendment compliance certifications for each component of the shoe along with the below letter from Michaud urging DOD to fully comply with the Berry Amendment. A downloadable photo of the sneakers can be found here.
“The Department of Defense should make it their New Year’s resolution to commit to outfitting our military in American-made footwear,” said Michaud, who has worked on this issue for years. “It’s not only the law, but it’s also the right thing to do.”
A timeline of events surrounding this issue, which Michaud has been pushing since 2010, can be found here. The full text of the letter Michaud wrote is below:
December 20, 2013
Dear Secretary Hagel and Ambassador Froman:
After speaking with your offices in the last few weeks, it has come to my attention that both of your agencies are looking into whether the Department of Defense should purchase American footwear as part of our troops’ physical training uniform. It has also come to my attention that doubts remain about American companies’ ability to make shoes that comply with the Berry Amendment.
I wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight with both of you: Berry-compliant footwear exists.
I have enclosed a pair of Berry-compliant footwear for each of you so you can see them for yourselves. These shoes are made by American workers in Boston, Massachusetts and Norridgewock, Maine, with components from a supply chain that stretches into 11 other states.
The Berry Amendment is clear; it says our troops should wear American-made uniforms. The only reason our troops are not training in these shoes is DOD’s unwillingness to fully comply with the law.
As you both know, I have been pushing for this policy change for years. Now that USTR is also engaged in this issue—and now that you each have your own pair of Berry-compliant shoes—I am hopeful you will make the decision to purchase this footwear for our troops.
Our soldiers train hard to protect this country. Our communities want to work just as hard to support them. I urge you to change DOD policy and provide American-made shoes to our troops.
Member of Congress