The Transportation Security Administration made an eleventh-hour deal to buy $50 million worth of new uniforms for its agents — sealing the deal as the nation braced for the budget-smashing sequester, CNS News reports
And incredibly, as the nation continues to struggle with the outsourcing of manufacturing to countries outside the United States, it turns out the uniforms will be partially made in Mexico.
The TSA's new one-year uniform contract with VF Imagewear — which owns the Lee and Wrangler Hero clothing brands — was announced just two days before the sequester kicked in, according to CNS News.
The sizable clothing outlay comes on the heels of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s caution that airline passengers should expect long lines at some security checkpoints — a fact of life that will only get worse as sequestration sets in in the coming weeks.
The timing of the massive uniform purchase has some news sites — including the conservative blog HotAir.com — on the warpath.
“While you’re waiting in those longer lines that may or may not exist, you’ll have extra time to admire the new uniforms TSA bought just before the sequester hit,’’ wrote HotAir’s Ed Morrissey.
“The most interesting part of this development is the fact that TSA only provides the initial uniforms for new hires. TSA employees have to pay for their own replacements.
“So why spend $50 million on uniforms if TSA has to cut back on employees so significantly that it will interfere with airport operations? Why not save some money and cut back on the uniform purchases, especially if the cutbacks mean a lack of hiring?’’
Napolitano said mandatory spending cuts are triggering the elimination of overtime for TSA officers and customs agents and furlough notices are being sent out this week.
On its website, VF Imagewear touts the importance of well-made uniforms.
“The right uniform program ensures your brand image will be enhanced from the first smile or handshake,” VF Imagewear says, according to Government Security News.
“Company image wear provides increased security, employee confidence and teamwork, as well as the assurance that customers will easily identify your employees. The service support provided by our extensive distributor network makes your managed uniform program effortless.”
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