Congress Approves TSA To Purchase US Made Uniforms…WHAT?

Web: — E-Mail:

3/02/2009 – Congress Approves TSA To Purchase US Made Uniforms…WHAT?

Sometimes there seems to be a mismatch in politics and the core Mission of Transportation Security’s (TSA) role in protecting the travelling public in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration has a clearly defined Mission.   Many government agencies have lengthy Mission Statements, while the TSA’s Mission Statement is concise and to the point.

This is the TSA’s Mission Statement:
The Transportation Security Administration protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.

Whenever I read about the TSA coming before the United State House of Representatives I cringe.  I do not cringe because I fear the TSA’s public image will be tarnished, because the TSA has done a good job of doing that for its self in the past.   I cringe because often when the TSA’s issues come before The House, it is often related to issues that stray from the TSA’s mission, and involve politics that have nothing to do with national security, transit security or addressing what the TSA needs to do to improve its self to become a more effective security operation.

This past week as the 111th Congress, 1st Session, passed  House Resolution 1 (HR 1 : American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), along with an amendment that addressed the approval of the TSA to seek out and procure uniforms manufactured in the United States.   This amendment that was passed, along with the rest of ‘HR 1’ states that all future uniforms, and textile products, purchased by the TSA must be made from US materials and manufactured in the US.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an American, I live in the same current deep recession as every other American. I am all for purchasing goods and services that further the economy I live in and that my neighbours live in.

What I do not understand from the amendment to ‘HR 1’ is this.
1) Why weren’t US Transportation Security Administration Uniforms already purchased from US manufacturers?
2) Why does the amendment in ‘HR 1’ address TSA uniforms specifically, but not the uniforms of the roughly 100,000 other DHS agents, such as those from US Immigrations, Customs & Border Protection and FEMA?
3) Why does it take an Act of Congress to get involved in the mundane task of uniform procurement for TSA agents?  This issue could have been handled and approved internally as an internal policy directive.

The Transportation Security Administration has a serious job. The TSA’s job is often mocked. TSA agents’ procedures are often misunderstood (to give them the benefit of the doubt).  The TSA has significant internal problems that need to be addressed.  The TSA has a public relations problem on multiple levels.

When the TSA’s issues go before The Congress shouldn’t they deal with more important issues, such as National Security? The approving of funds for additional training and the investigation of multi-million dollar no-bid contracts?

I am glad the TSA will soon be wearing US made uniforms…that is should the United States Senate approve ‘HR 1.’   I hope the ‘Made In The USA’ labels used in the clothing as also US produced.

…now that the TSA’s upper management has been distracted briefly by dealing with uniform procurement, hopefully we can get back to issues such as clarifying  3oz vs 100ml; allowing liquids through check points; eliminating SSSS; creating consistent operating procedures and the furthering of internal security of the agency.

Happy Flying!



  1. This is a very protectionist idea and I would think that you, who travels all over the world to do your job, should understand that it is not a good idea.

    The mandate of the TSA should be to protect people, and they should use all the resources they have available to do that. If they can buy less expensive uniforms somewhere else, they should do so, and save the extra money to protect people.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they should automatically buy from sweat shops just because they’re cheaper, but choosing not to buy goods from a sweat shop is entirely different than choosing to buy from the USA just because the goods are made in America. Entirely different.

  2. Sean,

    I’d rather not debate politics and economics. That is not the point of my post.

    What does surprise me is that a US Government agency needs to go before the Congress to be allowed to purchase US made uniforms. Such internal procurement decisions are routinely made internally. The decision makes its way through the chain of command and a directive is created for future bids on the production of the uniforms.

    The law makers who needs to sort out a wide range of problems we are currently facing in the United States do not need to be involved in such minor details. Additionally, if the Congress is involved in the minor details, why are they not allowing the other US Dept of Homeland Security to purchase US made uniforms.

    Acts of Congress are generally laws, when they come through a House Resolution, the procurement of a new uniform procurement guideline should not be a law. It certainly should not be part of the first House Resolution of the ‘new Congress.’

    Happy Flying!


  3. I don’t want to debate politics or economics either, but you’ve missed a major point (or a major piece of news perhaps). The House passed a $900 Billion economic stimulus package based around “Buy American”.

    This TSA request stems directly from the passage of this bill in the House last month. The Senate passed a softened version of the bill today, but it’s intent is the same.

    I expect that you will see a whole lot more of this sort of thing from other US government agencies in the near future…

  4. I’m looking for passenger complaints about unpleasant experience from someone who lives in the Philly area, the city, the suburbs, New Jersey and Delaware.
    Please contact me with your experience…

    thank you,
    Joan Sill
    CBS 3

  5. Sean,

    Since you are from Canada and likely never did US gov’t contracts,
    let me just say – no need to worry about USA getting quality at home.
    Most gov’t agencies use ” lowest responsible bidder ”
    made in USA would not preclude quality.

    PS: Wikipedia for basic info is great
    …..but on something like this ….. I wouldn’t trust to use it as a resource.


    SINCE THE BUDGETS are all under the DEPT of homeland security and FED BUDGETS are approved by Congress
    You can expect all contracts to be reviewed for $ SAVINGS and to ensure USA job creation.

    DUE TO current political upheaval
    YOU CAN EXPECT all of this minutia to be PUBLICLY NOTED.
    -sorry on caps/typos-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.