Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Visclosky wants US steel used in soldiers' armor

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U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, chair of the Congressional Steel Caucus and 36 other members of the caucus are urging the Department of Defense (DoD), in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to exclusively utilize American steel in troops’ armor.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, the letter was written after the issue was raised at a caucus hearing of the use of steel armor plate which has been melted in foreign countries, “compromising troop security and undermining American industry”:

The letter:

“We write today as Members of the Congressional Steel Caucus to express our deep concerns regarding a Department of Defense (DoD) regulation set forth in 48 CFR parts 225 and 252 that affects the procurement of steel armor plate. We believe that this regulation jeopardizes the safety of our troops and increases our reliance on imported steel, to the detriment of our national security and the American industrial base.

“On March 25, 2010, the Congressional Steel Caucus held a hearing on the state of the steel industry, and we discussed the importance of the Specialty Metals Amendment, as originally included under the Berry Amendment in 1973. The Specialty Metals Amendment aims to ensure that American steel is used to protect our troops, and that American steel producers have the incentive to invest in the technology, capacity, and research and development to meet DoD needs. As you know, steel armor plate plays a vital role in the protection of our troops and the defense of our nation.

“The hearing brought to light a DoD regulation that defined the term “produced,” as specified under the Specialty Metals Amendment, to allow the use of steel armor plate that is melted in foreign countries. Specifically, the new definition merely requires the finishing processes of armor plate manufacturing to take place domestically, which is contrary to over thirty-five years of precedent requiring melting processes to occur in the United States.

“We believe that the proper enforcement and implementation of this Amendment is vital to ensure that our troops have the best material available. For example, steel armor plate is used in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and MRAP All-Terrain Vehicles. We must do everything possible to preserve and maintain the ability of the American steel industry to produce this critical material for the protection of the men and women risking their lives on the battlefield.

Therefore, we ask that you fully examine the implications of this regulation and reinstate the long-standing requirement that steel armor plate be melted in the United States.”




Posted 5/6/2010




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