By Kathy McPeakJuly 9, 2009
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Army News Service, July 9, 2009) -- The flame-resistant Army combat uniform and the improved physical fitness uniform can now be ordered by deployed troops through a Web-based program.
The Army Direct Ordering Program was initially limited to a select number of sites in Iraq which could order limited uniform-replacement items. Now the program has been expanded to support units in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Kuwait and Djibouti.
In April, the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia expanded the program to offer the flame-resistant ACUs and the APFT uniform. Soldiers can now order more than 50 replacement items under the program, ranging from boots to goggles.
In 2004, DSCP partnered with the Kentucky Logistics Operation Center to create a third-party logistics operation. The center is a subcontractor which runs a clothing distribution facility responsible for receiving, warehousing and delivering the goods.
"The ADO program has been an outstanding success and a valuable benefit to Soldiers deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, providing sustainment of clothing bag items and organizational clothing and individual equipment," said Kenneth Gunn, program manager for the third-party logistics program.
"Soldiers have the ease of ordering from a Web-based catalog and receive the order that has been individually picked, packed, and shipped to their location in theater," Gunn said. He explained that replacement items under ADO are normally ordered through a unit's supply section.
DSCP was the recipient of the 2006 Department of Defense Supply Chain Excellence Award for its direct ordering program. The award recognizes organizations that are committed to improving supply chain performance in providing logistics support to troops.
"With the coordination of the military services, DSCP strives to have the best equipped and well-protected military in the world," said Susanne McHale, supervisor of the battledress uniform integrated supplier team. McHale's team partnered with industry to make the flame-resistant Army combat uniform available.
"In the past few years, it has become clear that our deployed servicemembers need to be protected from flash burns caused by improvised explosive devices and other enemy weapons in the field," McHale said.
The flame-resistant ACUs were first fielded in 2007 and deploying Soldiers are now issued four sets each.
"The flame-resistant Army combat uniform is just one of many steps being taken to reduce injuries to our brave men and women in theater around the world," McHale said.
Defender M, a flame-resistant cloth with a fiber blend of rayon, para-aramid, and nylon, is used to make the combat uniform. Once an order is placed for the uniform, the Soldier receives it in three weeks or less, DSCP officials said.
Another item Soldiers can now order through the Army Direct Ordering Program is the physical fitness uniform. Scott Kromis, who oversees the accessories team at DSCP, said that by providing a modernized ensemble for physical fitness gear to the Army, Soldiers are able to perform their physical fitness activities in a safer uniform that lasts longer.
Modifications were made to the physical fitness uniform by adding a long-sleeve T-shirt and a modern workout jacket and pants which are made of high-performance fabrics that resist wind and rain, while allowing moisture to pass through. Adjustable vents were added to the jacket, along with reflective stripes and reinforced elbows and a hidden back vent. The new T-shirts are safer, and have a modern look and fit, Kromis said.
With demand increasing due to the mandatory wear of only the APFT uniform or the ACU in theater, and the addition of this ensemble to the ADO program, procurement challenges arose.
Clothing and Textiles supply chain customer and supplier sides worked together with the customers and vendors to gain a better idea of demand. New suppliers were added to the existing industrial base and weekly conference calls were held to assure an adequate supply was maintained.
The Department of the Army, Army Central Command, Army Clothing and Services Office, Kentucky Logistics Operation Center, Advantech and the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia collaborated to make changes to the ADO Program Web site to add the new clothing items.
DSCP is part of the Defense Logistics Agency headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va. DLA procures and distributes more than 3 million items to U.S. and allied forces.