More US Troops Outfitting Themselves for Combat

With slow supply chain—and style—among concerns, market grows to $150M annually
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2008 1:39 PM CST
Mike Noell, a former Navy SEAL, and the CEO of BlackHawk, a company that produces gear for the Military and Law enforcement officers, demonstrates the use of the built-in tourniquets, on Dec 20, 2007,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US troops are increasingly augmenting their military-issue gear with higher-end commercial products to gain an extra edge—and look sharp, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The military has encouraged the trend, perhaps in response to the equipment shortages that have dogged the Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts, loosening procurement rules that previously stopped troops from providing their own equipment.

"The idea now is, 'If it helps Joe do the mission, let him have it—as long as it's not hot pink,'” one manufacturer said. Critics charge that the trend is the result of government abandoning front-line troops, but much of the extra gear is purchased with units’ discretionary funds or by supply initiatives outside the traditional chain.