Lawmakers approve legislation to protect troops, ensure supply of flame-resistant uniforms
SpecialtyFabricsReview.com | January 10, 2012
Congress included language in the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to eliminate future restrictions on the use of flame-resistant (FR) rayon fiber by the US military. The FR rayon fiber is a critical component in the flame-resistant uniforms worn by American troops in combat. These specialized uniforms provide substantially improved protection from burn injuries caused by the effects of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The uniforms are made using TenCate Defender™ M, a fabric manufactured by American workers in numerous states.
In previous years, the U.S. Congress provided legal authority for the military use of FR rayon fiber imported from any country with a standing Memorandum of Understanding for defense trade with the U.S. That authority was due to expire in January 2015 by virtue of a sunset clause. In the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress repealed the sunset clause.
This new, permanent grant of authority went into effect immediately when the president signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act into law on December 31, 2011.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and America’s textile industry are now free to plan on a reliable, long-term supply of FR rayon fiber for as long as it is deemed essential to protecting American troops in crisis areas.
For the past three years, the companies and the workers involved in the production of flame-resistant uniforms using TenCate Defender™ M fabric had urged the Congress to change the law in order to provide certainty about long-range availability of FR rayon fiber. It was important to preserve the viability of the domestic workforce, strengthen the supply chain, encourage investment, and ensure the continued ability of the industry to provide these uniforms when requested by the DOD. Over 25 companies in 20 states, representing over 10,000 American jobs, were involved in this effort.
TenCate Defender™ M fabrics are made from a unique fiber blend that includes Lenzing FR® Rayon. It was selected by the DOD in 2007 in response to the critical need to better protect American troops from burn injuries on the battlefield and serves the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy. TenCate Protective Fabrics develops and produces protective and safety fabrics for industry, services, firefighting and defense. TenCate Protective Fabrics has plants in Europe, Asia and North America.