This news has been flying under the radar, but it's worth paying attention to for a couple of reasons. The Marine Corps Times is reporting the Marines, which normally prides itself on strict uniform standards, is relaxing those rules amid a shortage of the branch's standard uniform. From the article (emphasis added):
Leaders of Marine units can let their service members wear nonstandard uniform items amid a long-term shortage of the regular camouflage uniform.
The Marine Corps says it won’t have a full stock of the woodland-pattern camouflage combat utility uniform ― the everyday outfit for most Marines ― until summer or fall 2024. The shortage has prompted the top Marine leader to authorize unit commanders to allow the desert-colored camouflage combat utility uniform or the flame-resistant organizational gear, known as FROGs.
This flexibility is a rare step for a service that prides itself on adherence to strict uniform standards.
“What we cannot have is a situation where a Marine is wearing unserviceable cammies, because that looks bad for the Corps, and we can’t have a situation where that Marine is being given a hard time about those unserviceable cammies,” Commandant Gen. Eric Smith said in a video message to the force Thursday, using a nickname for the camouflage combat utility uniform.
The CEO of American Apparel, who makes the uniforms, had this to say (emphasis added):
Chuck Lambert, CEO of American Apparel Inc, the primary manufacturer of the uniforms, told Marine Corps Times his company has had trouble producing enough items at the fixed price in the Defense Logistics Agency contract. Even as inflation increased and it became harder to find workers, he said, he couldn’t increase the price of items to pay for a big bump in wages.
“McDonald’s and a lot of the fast food guys are paying $2 and $3 more an hour than we could afford to pay,” the CEO said in August. “Where they could go up on the price of the hamburger, we can’t go up on the price of a uniform.”
The Defense Logistics Agency has awarded two additional contracts to companies to make the uniforms, potentially easing the shortage, according to Lambert and online records.
Because government makes everything more difficult, you'll note the price in the Defense Logistics Agency contract is fixed, and inflation was not considered in the order for uniforms. On top of that, American Apparel is having trouble finding workers.
Apparently the Marine Corps cannot get uniforms (yes you read that correctly) because the only maker of these (complete genius single sourcing this) cannot get people to work for now what is seen as low wages required of the contract https://t.co/rfzpuKuIkc— przidnt🥭 (@przidnt1) September 30, 2023
It's getting some, but not nearly enough, attention on Twitter/X.
basically, the current contract is a fixed amount and didn't take into account inflation so the uniform manufacturer got X dollars to produce set number of uniforms, and well the cost of everything went up and their wages are no longer competitive...— przidnt🥭 (@przidnt1) September 30, 2023
Inflation and wages. Best economy ever, Jack!
apparently the Marines made additional contracts with other manufacturers, hopefully at a higher rate, to correct this, but it will not be solved... until late next year! LOL!— przidnt🥭 (@przidnt1) September 30, 2023
A year to correct this problem.
Marines Grapple With Camouflage Uniform Shortage..— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) October 1, 2023
Billions to UKRAINE and we can't put uniforms on our own Military service members.
“What we cannot have is a situation where a Marine is wearing unserviceable 'cammies,' because that looks bad for the Corps."
"And we can’t… pic.twitter.com/idjpnoxKtG
Billions to Ukraine and countless other things, but our Marines? Not a priority.
This is disgraceful https://t.co/hy5KIOsuO2— RRRGB 🏴🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@Englshgrl61) October 1, 2023
Yes it is. Very disgraceful.
Given how much money we spend on pretty much everything else, well, people are making connections:
Sending more money to Ukraine is obviously the solution.— Dr Vincent Sativa 🇺🇸 (@The_Weed_Shop) October 1, 2023
We're sure it is.
They sent them all to Ukraine https://t.co/xTICggFTwQ— LasVegasHub (@Lasvegashub) October 1, 2023
Perhaps we could get some over there. We're paying for fertilizer and seeds and everything else in Ukraine.
This is on Biden, McConnell and McCarthy. https://t.co/yhX0gf1IX3— Marc Olivier (@molivier1A) October 1, 2023
Yes. The blame goes all the way up.
This is the worst administration in American history. https://t.co/c9NKQB5jbc— Shed Right Light (@shedrightlight) October 1, 2023
Hard to argue with that.
It's going to take another year to correct this problem. Provided the economy and jobs market don't get even worse between then and now.
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