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Military Market

Ron Houle is Founder and President of Pivot Step Consultants, LLC., a consulting practice specializing in market analysis, product development, doing business with the military service branches, and providing strategic reviews of the Defense Budget. Mr. Houle has also recently been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI),

 

In this column for BeaverLake6 Report, Mr. Houle provides on insight into the issues and news that affect the US military contractors within the technical textiles industry. To contact Mr. Houle, please email at Ron.Houle76@gmail.com

Posted October 29, 2019

AUSA Annual Conference Showcases Technical Textile Industry Products for the Military

The 2019 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Conference was held October 14-16, 2019 in Washington, D.C. USA. The AUSA Conference is the country’s largest military trade show, showcasing products made by the US manufacturing industry for the military.  This year’s conference had record-breaking interest. Some statistics for the 2019 event:

 

· 31,000 attendees (it is the 3rd largest show in D.C. in any given year); 

· 700 (+) exhibitors; 

· and, 130 (+) programs and education sessions. 

 

Additionally, more than 80 countries were represented by attendees and/or exhibitors. Several companies unveiled prototypes for upcoming solicitations, and several significant contracts were awarded and announced during the conference.  The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) had a shared booth with several IFAI companies participating and exhibiting military gear and textiles.

 

There are a couple of reasons for the record-high attendance. First, there has been a very recent shift in senior US Army leadership, and attendees were eager to hear their procurement priorities. Second, the Army’s aggressive modernization plan calls for a large number of new, major programs for combat vehicles, aircraft, missile defense systems and IT systems.  

 

The conference had a palpable sense of optimism regarding the direction and budgeting for the Department of Defense, and especially for the US Army.  While much of the information sessions offered details for the funding of specific programs, the US Congress announced during the show that government spending would be under a Continuing Resolution for 2020, rather than a budget that is enacted into law.  The Continuing Resolution (CR) means funding at the same level as in 2019 until November 7, 2019, allowing more time for Congress to negotiate budget issues.  This CR could have significant impact on many of the programs that are to start in 2020 or expected to move forward to meet critical timelines if Congress is unable to issue a budget by the end of the year. 

 

For defense budget information, continue to look to this column for the latest news.

Posted July 5, 2019

 

There has been quite a bit of activity regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sometimes simply referred to as the Defense Authorization Bill.  This legislation contains policy changes, directs studies and investigations, and provides the authorized levels of spending for the Department of Defense (DoD).  The House of Representatives passed their version of the NDAA in May. 

 

Last week, the Senate passed their version of the NDAA.  There are significant differences between each version.  One such difference for our industry would be a proposed rollback of the Simplified Acquisition Threshold to $150,000 for Berry Amendment compliance.  In 2018, the threshold had been raised to $250,000 which seriously affected many of the medium military contracts.  

 

From here, the two bills will be brought to a Conference Committee for resolution and concurrence, then the final version will be brought before Congress for final passage and enactment.

 

Watch this column in the weeks and months ahead for more details and the relevant measures for the industrial fabrics industry. 

 

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On a different note, the US Army is now ready to produce and distribute the new Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform.  This uniform has been in development since 2015, when soldiers complained about the performance of the standard Combat Uniform. 

 

There are some exterior changes (such as not having chest pockets, a different shoulder design) that are meant to allow for faster drying times and lighter weight.  The hot weather uniform is a 57/43 nylon-cotton blend (the standard combat uniform is a 50/50 nylon-cotton blend).  The first shipments will soon arrive to military clothing sales stores in Hawaii and Fort Benning, GA. 

 

The Army expects to have the uniform distributed to military clothing stores worldwide by February, 2020.  The price will be approximately $100.00 per set, which is similar to the current combat uniform.  The manufacturers for the uniforms are Pentaq, NIB, Goodwill Industries and Ability One. 

Posted February 22, 2019

 

Welcome once again to the newest service from BeaverLake6 Report. This column will be providing the news and the insights to the US military market.

 

Perhaps it’s most appropriate to have a set of articles on the defense acquisition reforms that have been put into place in the last year or two. While the department of defense has, for decades, talked about reform, it has been slow in implementation or narrow in practice. I think it is exciting to see some real change. Now, mind you, while some acquisition programs will continue to find their way through the traditional and ponderous Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), there will be opportunities to participate in programs that, while remaining within the parameters and laws of the FAR, will be implemented in very different ways.

 

Having said all of that, let us first take a look at the latest commission to provide recommendations to further promote change, and, importantly to change the FAR. Now, before I go into the latest effort, I would first say that so-called Blue-Ribbon Panels have been around for decades and focused on this topic, yet their recommendations have been rarely implemented. Hence sweeping, fundamental changes have been very elusive. Perhaps now things will be different.

 

You may have heard of the Section 809 Panel. This panel began their work two years ago and have published their final report. By law, this panel will disband on July 15th, so here’s to hoping that their recommendations will live on. In this report, there are 90 recommendations to improve the acquisition system.

 

In the next issue of BeaverLake6 Report, we will begin to share some of these recommendations. Some may be more strategic in nature, but worth sharing in order for you to have the “big picture.” There are also those that strike closer to the textile industry. Stay tuned, and we will discuss.

Posted February 8, 2019

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Military News for BeaverLake6 Report.  This addition to the publication is based on the facts surrounding the importance of the US and international military markets.  These markets can ebb and flow with annual defense budgets, and priorities can change dramatically in these budgets.  It is always a challenge to keep up with all this, even for those who may be familiar with the Byzantine processes.  For mid-size to smaller companies with limited assets to focus on these issues, it can be impossible to follow.  Finally, there are those who just have not been able to become more familiar with where to go for the right documents, or even interpret these documents once (or if) found.              

The purpose of this column will be severalfold.  I will provide alerts as to the release of key US defense budget documents.  Once published, I will provide highlights to what those documents contain and what it could mean to our industry.  I will highlight key conferences and shows that may be of interest to our readers.  I will provide summaries regarding panels, studies and papers whose content gives us clues on the road ahead for policies affecting standards, procurement, demand levels and subjects of that nature.              

Importantly, I seek your input for topics and your feedback on future articles.  The staff of BeaverLake6 Report is excited about the addition of this important topic. We are aware that many of you offer products and business to our warfighters. Nothing is more important than providing for the safety and performance of these men and women.  I look forward to our partnership.

More About Ron Houle

Ron Houle is Founder and President of Pivot Step Consultants, LLC., a Washington area consulting firm for those in the technicial textiles industry doing business with the US military.

 

Prior to founding his consulting practice, Ron served for twelve years as Vice President of Washington Operations for HDT Global, which had acquired DHS Systems/DRASH in February, 2015.  Ron’s focus was on opportunities and Programs of Record in the defense, homeland security, first responder and community hospitals sectors.  He has led company partnerships with federal, state and local emergency response agencies, including strategies supporting military support to civilian agencies.

 

Since joining HDT Global in 2003, Ron was actively involved with the company’s growth in both the defense and non-defense applications of core products. He was involved in building relationships and programs with the Army National Guard, Philips Healthcare, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics, to name a few.  In his last three years, Ron was leading the company’s initiative to develop and deploy technologies that will result in a highly mobile tactical power grid.

  

Prior to joining HDT Global, Ron served as the Director for Legislative Affairs and later as the Chief of Staff at the National Headquarters of the American Red Cross.  Prior to the American Red Cross, Ron served on the staff of the Secretary of the Army as the Director of the Programs Division, Office of Legislative Liaison, the Pentagon.  Other experience includes an assignment as Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, United States Military Academy; Congressional Fellow in the office Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN); various command positions in the U.S. Army and service in Desert Storm.  In addition to two assignments in Washington, DC, he served nearly six years in Germany, and assignments in Kentucky, Georgia, and Kansas.

 

Ron is a retired Army Colonel with over 24 years of Active Duty service, and a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.  He holds a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics, and a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering, both from Stanford University.  Additionally, he holds a Master of Science Degree in National Security Studies from the National Defense University and completed a curriculum in Foreign Policy Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies, the Johns Hopkins University.  He also studied National Security Policy in one-year executive seminar with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is a past Chairman of the Corporate Advisory Panel of the National Guard Association, and Past Chairman of the Board for the US Industrial Fabrics Institute, and the founder and a past Chairman of the Berry Amendment Textile Coalition.

 

Contact information:

Email: Ron.Houle76@gmail.com

Telephone: 914.806.3775

Coming Events

  • December 4-6:  Zone 7 Annual Conference, State College, Penn., USA
  • December 5-8: ITMACH India, Gandhinaga, India
  • December 11-12:  Digital Textile Printing Conference 4.0, Durham, N.C., USA
  • December 11-13:  18th Shanghai International Nonwovens Exhibition (SINCE 2019), Shanghai, China

Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.

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IFAI Expo 2019 Analysis

The IFAI Expo 2019 was held last week in Orlando, Fla., USA.  The exhibition was a smaller event than in years past but it still remains a powerful showcase of industry products.  In the Special Report section, you will find analysis of the show, plus news that comes from the Industrial Fabrics Association International's Annual Meeting and the winners of the International Achievement Awards. Click here to read the articles.  Posted October 10, 2019

Final Report Issued on 2018 China Industrial Textiles Industry

In 2018, China's industrial textile industry maintained a relatively rapid growth. The year, though, also found more complex challenges for the industry, including the tariff issues with the US. Thanks to BeaverLake6 Reports' exclusive arrangement with China Textile magazine, we are presenting the English-translated version of the final 2018 report written by the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textile Association (CNITA).  The report included information on fiber and material production, plus selected large end-product markets. Click here to read the report. Posted September 3, 2019

Do Profit and Convenience Muck Up the Moral Concern in Tariff Testimony by US Domestic Textile Industry?

NCTO Members Testifying at US International Trade Commission.  Surprisingly, there appears to be a little worry the announced new US tariffs on China (Section 301) may be reaching too far with its scope. The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), which has been firmly behind most of the textile-tariffs against China over the last year, is expressing concern the new Tranche Four retaliatory tariffs may affect US imports on products needed by the US domestic textile industry. 

 

[Read the rest of my editorial that takes NCTO to task for its hypocritical "moral" argument supporting the proposed additional products but excluding its industry's suppliers by clicking here.]

 

Steve Warner

Publisher

Posted June 17, 2019

China's Industrial Textile Market Demands Still Remains Vigorous

Despite the increasingly complex industry demands, the Chinese technical textiles market was relatively stable. Nonwovens output increased over last year. Key specific markets such as tire cord also increased in 2018 over 2017. Overall operating income for industrial textiles used in China reached $34 billion. Click here to read the complete summary provided to BeaverLake6 Report by China Textile magazine through our exclusive relationship. Posted February 15, 2019

Does IDEA Show Need to be in Miami Beach?

INDA, the Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry, has issued its final report on IDEA19.  The event held March 25-27, 2019 in Miami Beach, Fla., USA, attracted 6,500+ participants and 509 exhibiting companies from 75 countries.  Show floor space was a record 168,600 square feet, a 9% increase over the previous show. 

 

Surprisingly, the people and exhibitor participation figures are not record numbers. The IDEA16 show in Boston, Mass., USA, attracted 7000+ and 555 exhibitors. 

 

So, why was participation down this year from IDEA16?  I think an explanation for the decline is the South Florida location of IDEA19.  Click here to read more.

President Li Lingshen, President, China Nonwovens & Industrial Texiles Association

President Li Lingshen

BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to provide an exclusive interview with Li Lingshen, Ph.D., Vice President of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, and President of the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association, the overseeing organization for the technical textiles industry in China. Click here to read the interview.

NCTO Neglects Automotive Textiles as Organizations Testify          on Proposed USMCA Impact

Positive Reviews but Still Uncertainty. On November 16, 2018, two of the US textile industry associations testified before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in a special hearing to determine the economic impact of the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  The leaders of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) provided statements on how they feel the new agreement will affect their member companies. 

 

The two organizations clearly have different biases; however, in looking over the AAFA and NCTO statements, it appears to me that while the organizations both clearly said they were not offering an endorsement yet of the agreement, they gave general overall approval for USMCA, acknowledging the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needed updating. Both organizations are taking a wait-and-see attitude to more fully look at how the agreement impacts the complex supply chain of textiles and apparel. Click here to read more.

NAFTA Replacement Agreement Negotiated. On October 1, President Donald Trump announced the US, Mexico and Canada had reached an agreement whichreplaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that went into effect in 1994. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) contains provisions and language that has an impact on the technical textiles industry; the most important are 1) a special section covering textiles and apparel and 2) rules of origin that will require 75% of automotive content (under NAFTA 62.5%) be made in North America. Mexico and Canada are the two largest importers of US made technical textiles and the automotive industry is the largest intended end market of these technical textiles. Click here to go to the United States Trade Representative's website and read the "Textiles and Apparel Goods" chapter. Posted October 3, 2018

State of the Chinese Technical Textiles Markets in 2017

Are you looking for a quick understanding of the China technical textiles industry? Through our special relationship with China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA) and their China Textile publication, BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to post the English-translation of the recently issued "Status Quo of China's Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Industry, 2017." The report covers the different levels of the industry, geographic export demographics, and forecast the needs in the major end market applications. Click here to read the report in our China Textile website section. 

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Secretary Gary Locke, US Dept. of Commerce, and Steve Warner US Dept. of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Steve Warner

Success in our industry is all about knowledge, integrity and developing relationships. BeaverLake6 Group, LLC, publisher of BeaverLake6 Report, is a management consulting firm focused on helping businesses understand the complex global technical textiles industry.

 

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