Tags: Army | Cancels | Chinese-Made | Berets

Army Cancels Chinese-Made Berets

Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM

"The Army chief of staff has determined that U.S. troops shall not wear berets made in China or berets made with Chinese content. Therefore, I direct the Army and the Defense Logistics Agency to take appropriate action to recall previously distributed berets and dispose of the stock," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Wednesday.

It was unclear whether "dispose of the stock" meant trashing the hats or reselling them.

The Defense Logistics Agency could not immediately say how many of the caps had been distributed. A British-owned company with a plant in China had a contract to produce 618,000 berets.

The Defense Logistics Agency on Monday canceled three contracts, covering 1.6 million berets, with U.S.-owned companies for production and quality problems, according to DLA spokeswoman Gerda Parr.

Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, who made the decision to give black berets to all Army service members, active and reserve, by June 14, the Army's anniversary, told the House Small Business Committee it was not his decision to make the berets in China. He said he was unaware that they would not be produced domestically until February, when the Defense Department-funded newspaper Stars and Stripes broke the story. Had he known, Shinseki said, he "would have phased it over a longer period of time," thus allowing U.S. manufacturers to fulfill the contract.

Shinseki directed the hat change in October, but American suppliers could not provide all of them - 3.8 million at a cost to taxpayers of $23.8 million - in time to meet his deadline. Army contractors turned overseas to buy the hats, in apparent contravention to "Buy American" requirements. Companies awarded contracts to produce the Army's new headgear have their products manufactured in China, Sri Lanka, Romania, South Africa and India, according to Stars and Stripes.

Government agencies cannot buy from other than American sources unless they can show the items are not available and not getting them would cause serious harm.

Shinseki is trying to engineer a wholesale transformation of the Army, a huge and sometimes lumbering organization criticized for the lengthy time it takes to deploy its troops to battle. Given the anticipated change toward smaller conflicts in urban or heavily populated areas, the Army must change or risk being left behind by the more deployable Marine Corps and more mobile Air Force and Navy.

The Army is training two lighter brigades at Fort Lewis, Wash., where it is also experimenting with new equipment. But Shinseki said the rest of the Army needed to know it was also a vital part of the "transformation."

"We needed the army to understand that our requirement to change was much larger than two brigades ... and everyone needed to be a part of it," Shinseki said. "Each of those communities tended to see themselves a little more clearly than the larger Army. The black beret is about building cohesiveness amongst these communities because we will need all of them to win a war."

The most passionate outcry against the black berets came from the Army's Ranger unit and its alumni, who have worn similar hats for the last 25 years and view it as an earned badge of honor.

The Army terminated contracts with Bernard Cap Co. of Hialeah Gardens, Fla., which had a plant in South Africa scheduled to make 750,000 berets; Denmark Military Equipment of Astoria, N.Y., which had a plant in Romania scheduled to make 482,000 berets; and Northwest Woolen Mills of Woonsocket, R.I., which had a plant in India slated to make 392,000 berets.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

All rights reserved.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
The Army chief of staff has determined that U.S. troops shall not wear berets made in China or berets made with Chinese content. Therefore, I direct the Army and the Defense Logistics Agency to take appropriate action to recall previously distributed berets and dispose...
Army,Cancels,Chinese-Made,Berets
597
2001-00-02
Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved