June 05, 2015

Senators Warren and Markey Introduce Amendment Urging DOD to Expedite Purchase of American-Made Athletic Shoes

Text of the amendment is available here

WASHINGTON, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that asks the Department of Defense (DOD) to accelerate efforts to provide American-made athletic shoes to Armed Forces recruits. A statute known as the Berry Amendment requires DOD to spend appropriated funds only on products made in the U.S. that pass the military's performance standards. U.S. companies, including Massachusetts-based New Balance, are able to manufacture Berry Amendment-compliant footwear, but DOD continues to delay its purchase of these products.

"Long ago Congress required the Department of Defense to purchase American-made supplies whenever possible, giving our troops high-quality equipment while supporting U.S. businesses," said Senator Warren. "American companies are ready and able to manufacture athletic shoes that meet the military's needs, but DOD continues to delay their purchase. Now that American-made footwear has been tested and approved for military use, DOD should move quickly to provide this gear to servicemembers."

"If U.S. companies like New Balance commit to manufacturing American-made sneakers, we should commit to putting them on our servicemembers' feet," said Senator Markey. "We can support our troops with high-quality gear and U.S. companies and workers with good jobs, but we need DOD to do what they committed to doing. It's time for DOD to stop the delays and move quickly to purchase these products, and I will continue to work with Senator Warren and Rep. Tsongas to make sure this gets done."

In 2013, Congress required DOD to determine whether there are domestic manufacturers of Berry Amendment-compliant athletic footwear that meet the military's needs. More than a year ago, in April 2014, DOD issued a new policy stating that the Armed Services would seek to ensure recruits use Berry Amendment-compliant footwear.

A New Balance shoe was approved as the first Berry Amendment-compliant footwear earlier this year; however, DOD testing of other shoe models could delay the purchase of American-made footwear into winter of 2015 or early 2016, a full eighteen months after DOD issued its new policy.

The amendment introduced by Senators Warren and Markey today urges DOD to expedite the acquisition of approved footwear within 30 days.