An Illinois Senator is working to ensure that female military members have proper fitting and functioning personal protective equipment. Tammy Duckworth, along with Iowa Democrat Joni Ernst, Arizona Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Richard Blumenthal have introduced legislation to improve troop readiness and effectiveness by addressing issues of inadequate and ill-fitting body armor and personal protective equipment (PPE) across the military, especially for women.
Duckworth said her reasoning for introducing the legislation was because she experienced what it was like while serving as a combat veteran overseas and how it hindered her job as a helicopter pilot. Recent reports by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services have shown that access to female-specific PPE and smaller sized PPE was severely limited and only issued to some women who were deploying and not to any females during initial entry training or in regular unit environments. Poorly fitting PPE has been shown to be the main cause of injury for all service members, regardless of sex or deployment.
The legislation would include expedition of procuring new contracts for PPE, encourage development through new technology of PPE with academia and industry, increase transparency of reporting by the Department of Defense and require reporting to Congress about the progress and the protection of PPE in the military to reduce injuries.