TSA Sealed $50-Million Sequester-Eve Deal to Buy New Uniforms - and will be partly manufactured in Mexico -
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.
"We are already seeing the effect on the ports of entry, the big airports for example," Napolitano told Politico on Monday. "Some of them had very long lines this weekend."
"Look people, I don't mean to scare, I mean to inform," Napolitiano said."If you're traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would. There's only so much we can do with personnel and please don't yell at the customs officers, the TSA officers. They aren't responsible for 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 employee over the course of the year.
This is not the first time VF Imagewear has been commissioned to make TSA uniforms. The company secured a $98 million contract in 2010 that expired on Feb. 17, 2013.
The latest contract will run until Feb. 17, 2014, with a one-year optional transitional period. By next year, the DHS hopes to have TSA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) secure their uniforms with a single combined contract.
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