The Famous Spec in the Finest Wool
Back in 1975, the Department of Defense submitted specifications for the U.S. Navy’s wool knit Watch Cap and Scarf to the NATO Stock System, making it easy for allies to procure these soldier favorites—and sending a fair bit of business to American wool producers and knitting factories in the process. The specifications were rather barebones—requiring only that the caps and scarves be knit in a universal size from 100% American wool—in full-compliance with the Berry Amendment. Quality was assured not by any certifications or credentials, but by the reputation of U.S. military contractors alone. Costs were contained by a robust and competitive network of vendors eager to outbid one another.
All that to say, the “domestic wool” criteria within the specifications created something of an opportunity for those whose manufacturing is not bound by the limitations of a taxpayer-funded program. And it so happens that there exists today a respectable number of Merino Sheep farms operating in the United States. So now, for the first time ever, the famed NATO Watch Cap and Scarf are available in the ultra-soft, zero-itch Merino Wool—all while remaining 100% compliant with the original NATO Specification—as well as the Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. § 2533a) and Buy American Act (BAA) (41 U.S.C. § 8301–8305).
This means that not only can civilians now own the finest NATO knits ever produced, but Department of Defense and Federal procurement specialists now have a rather creative way to fully-utilize their allowed budgets without having to cut another purchase order for $18,000 hammers.