Procurement: December 13, 2004

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:   Soldiers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan have been acquiring their own kit to go with the U.S. Government Issue stuff. But where do they go to get the stuff? While outdoor stores like Galyans and Sports Authority are one place where they can make these purchases, the place most of them go is to online stores and the shopping is done from the comfort of their home.

Online shopping, at any place from Brigade Quartermaster, Cheaper Than Dirt, US Cavalry, and Sportsmans Guide, among others, will often give someone a wide selection at a better price than a local store, and one can do comparison shopping with a few mouse clicks (often by opening multiple browser windows). The delivery can arrive as soon as the next business day (if the order is placed early enough) thanks to Federal Express or UPS. Often, these commercial products have outperformed the gear the soldiers are issued. Camelbak-type systems for drinking water are one example (the system is now issued by the Defense Department to troops), having outperformed the venerable canteen.

What else is available at these online stores? Gloves, GPS units (often lighter and more advanced than units issued by the military), elbow and knee pads, knives, underwear suitable for hot weather, watches, sunglasses, and other necessities for the field. These stores often will provide the best gear on the market faster than the procurement system will, and they will be delivered right to the soldiers home. The commercial gear that proves most popular in the field often will be adopted for use by the military until it, too is outclassed by what one can find on the web. Harold C. Hutchison (hchutch@ix.netcom.com)

Sources mentioned:

Cheaper Than Dirt: http://www.cheaper than dirt.com

U.S. Cavalry: http://us cav.com/

Brigade Quartermaster: http://www.action gear.com/

Sportsmans Guide: http://www.sportsmans guide.com/

 


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