The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition Returns to Capitol Hill: Advocates for Operational Readiness and Warfighter Safety Initiative

BOSTON, MA – The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (the WPRC) has moved to the next level in its effort to advocate for the personal protective equipment and clothing needs of American Warfighters. The WPRC mission and message have never been more critical as the Department of Defense (DoD) faces increasing pressure to cut costs and create efficiencies during a time of global conflict. As part of its broader effort to remind policymakers of the importance of sustained funding for the gear that allows warfighters to safely and successfully complete their missions, the WPRC membership visited Capitol Hill on April 6th. On that day, representatives of the WPRC member companies met with over 100 Members of Congress and their staffs to brief them on the issue.

The WPRC membership represents a broad cross section of industry leaders, but they speak with one voice. While on Capitol Hill, the WPRC members provided an overview of their business footprint and explained why it is critical that Congress and the DoD prioritize funding for the equipment and apparel that keep American warfighters safe and combat effective. In addition to discussing policy and speaking from their own experiences, the WPRC membership was proud to share with Congress the results of new independent research findings by the Lexington Institute on the need for sustained funding and sustainable fielding of warfighter protective equipment. The Lexington Institute’s “Dressing for Success: Equipping the 21st Century Warfighter Quickly and Efficiently” can be found here: http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/dressing-for-success-equipping-the-21st-century-warfighter-quickly-and-efficiently?a=1&c=1129.

The WPRC was founded in 2009 as an advocate for the development and fielding of top quality personal protective equipment for American warfighters. In just over one year, the WPRC has grown from an idea to a coalition of 27 of the leading companies in the warfighter equipment industry. In 2010, the WPRC led an effort to draft and incorporate Defense Authorization language requiring the DoD to issue a report that assesses the need for individual line-items for organizational clothing and individual equipment (OCIE)development and procurement.  As Congress drafts a new budget for the DoD, the WPRC’s advocacy efforts continue and the Coalition is actively engaged in furthering the WPRC’s mission through the legislative process. The WPRC is working to codify a sustained funding stream to ensure that each Service Department dedicates the necessary attention and resources towards fielding the best clothing and equipment for American warfighters.

Members of the WPRC include ADS Inc., Bates Footwear, Benchmade Knife Company, Bluewater Defense, Brookwood Companies Inc., Darn Tough, DuPont, Duro Textiles, Eye Safety Systems, Honeywell, Insight Technology, International Textile Group, Leading Technology Composites Inc., London Bridge Trading Company, Milliken, New Balance, Otis Technology Inc., Outdoor Research, Pelican, Polartec, Smith Optics, Surefire, Tactical Holdings, TenCate, Wiley X, W. L. Gore and WT Tactical. Additional leaders in the personal protective equipment industry are expected to join as this effort continues to gain momentum.