Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Berry Amendment-compliant supply chain companies question move.

The U.S. Navy has been thinking about changing up its standard-issue uniform.

In comes the raincoat. Out will go the peacoat.

The peacoat has been part of the naval uniform for centuries and is kinda iconic …

Steve McQueen was the man.

… so it may take some time for the raincoat to create a similar level of cultural cache.

In the meantime, though, Congress is stepping into the issue. Congress is on it:

Members of the House Armed Services Committee responded by adding language to the defense spending bill requiring the Navy to explain the decision to substitute the raincoat for the peacoat, and to also consider the impact on the nation’s textile manufacturing industry.

It’s absolutely worth considering. Right now, Navy peacoats are made in America. They’re dyed in Philadelphia, and sewn in Massachusetts. Those businesses there have turned out a quality product for a long time, and put a lot of people to work in manufacturing.

They’re also compliant with the Berry amendment, which stipulates that food, clothing, fabrics, and specialty metals must be domestically sourced.

Some don’t see what the big deal is, which is cool ... I guess

But this shift would negatively affect a significant number of American jobs up and down the supply chain. And a strong, diverse manufacturing base is good for our economy and our military, period.  

We’re not eager to see the Navy make this change — so we'll keep an eye on developments regarding this decision. Here's a fact: The statue of the sailor at U.S. Naval Memorial in Washington, D.C. wouldn’t look nearly as cool wearing a raincoat.