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Wittman Leads Bipartisan Letter Calling on Air Force to Expand Distribution of Female-Fitting Body Armor
Washington, June 11, 2021
Tags: National Defense
Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) led a bipartisan letter calling on Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Darlene Costello to expand distribution of newly-designed body armor designed to better-fit female servicewomen to all female airmen assigned to ground-based forces. Currently, Air Force distribution of female-specific body armor is limited to women assigned to USAF Security Forces. Feedback from female airmen issued the body armor has been overwhelmingly positive. Announcing his letter, Congressman Wittman stated:
“As we ask female warfighters to take on new, more physically demanding roles, it’s only right for them to be issued equipment designed to fit them properly. This is about far more than comfort - there are significant health consequences for women who are forced to wear poorly fitting body armor for extended periods of time. Now that we have the option to acquire and issue body armor which fits female Airmen properly, we must ensure it is distributed to the appropriate female airmen as quickly as possible.”
To read Congressman Wittman’s letter, please see below.
June 11, 2021
The Honorable Darlene Costello
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force
Acquisition, Technology & Logistics
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330
Dear Assistant Secretary Costello,
We write to you today concerning the new body armor that has been developed specifically for female Airmen. The success of this program is of great congressional interest as we believe that female servicemembers deserve equipment that protects and optimizes their effectiveness during combat and contingency operations.
This new body armor was developed due to poor fitment issues and designed to offer better protection and comfort while navigating difficult conditions and environments. And, to this point, the female body armor reviews from our Airmen—junior enlisted to senior officer alike—have been outstandingly positive. In fact, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., AFMC commander recently said: “This is a perfect example of Air Force Materiel Command getting feedback from the field and delivering the Air Force we need to the warfighter. I’m proud of the team pulling together to do what is right for our Airmen. They deserve gear that offers the protection they need while allowing them to complete their mission.”
Given the success, we believe this capability should be made readily available to all female Airmen who could benefit from this advancement in female body armor technology. However, we understand, thus far, delivery of this gear has been solely distributed to female Airmen in the Air Force Security Forces and has not been made available to all female Airmen ground forces.
As such, we strongly urge the consideration for expanding this program to include all ground forces that retain female Airmen. We believe this move would not only benefit the individual Airmen but the larger Air Force mission as well.
We thank you for your consideration of this request and look forward to working with you to provide our female Airmen the body armor they deserve.
/s/ Robert J. Wittman /s/ Joe Wilson
ROBERT J. WITTMAN JOE WILSON
/s/ Ruben Gallego /s/ Salud Carbajal
RUBEN GALLEGO SALUD CARBAJAL
/s/ Michael Waltz