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Budget cuts? TSA ordered $50 million worth of new uniforms a week before sequester kicked in

By Doug Powers  •  March 5, 2013 11:39 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

Post-sequester TSA: You’re gonna like the way we look

Timing is everything:

The impending sequester did not prevent the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from acting in late February to seal a $50-million deal to purchase new uniforms for its agents — uniforms that will be partly manufactured in Mexico.

Soon after this new investment in TSA uniforms, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Americans that the lines are already lengthening at airports due to the sequester.
On Feb. 27, the agency announced that on Feb. 22 it had awarded a one-year contract to VF Imagewear, Inc., which owns the Lee brand and Wrangler Hero, to provide the uniforms. “This contract will address the requirements of the TSA, Office of Security Operations, TSA Uniform Program,” the award states.

The TSA employs 50,000 security officers, inspectors, air marshals and managers. That means that the uniform contract will pay the equivalent of $1,000 per TSA agent over the course of the year.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the TSA is required to procure uniforms made in the United States. However, uniform products made in Mexico, Canada or Chile must also be considered due to the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Chilean Free Trade Agreement.

“TSA’s contract with VF Imagewear for TSO uniforms, which has some manufacturing facilities in Mexico, complies with the law,” the TSA said.

Full story here.

J-Nap must have figured that if air travelers will be increasingly delayed as she has repeatedly warned (which is not the case so far), their moods can be enhanced if the person patting them down is wearing a snappy new blue uniform that also plays La Cucaracha on Cinco de Mayo.

And with all of President Obama’s promises to do away with no-bid contracts in mind, there’s this:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) intends to contract using other than full and open competition for the acquisition of TSA uniform items, inclusive of an online ordering system, for a period of one year with a one year optional transition period pending award of the mandatory DHS-wide uniform contract, which is currently being competed by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Accordingly, the TSA intends to award a contract to VF Imagewear Inc.

In other “budget cuts” news, federal agencies posted over 400 job openings on the day the sequester kicked in, including three for “insect production workers.”

Update: TSA uniform perks more expensive than the Marine Corps.

(h/t Respublica and Kristina)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Airline Security, Politics, Unions