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This is a different kind of fight

November 24th, 2014 / By: / My Take

The military is used to deploying to dangerous locations around the globe, but these are generally combat missions with a foe whose ideology threatens our security.

There is another foe with which U.S. troops will do battle; its name is “Ebola.” What’s needed in this fight against a clearly dangerous “foe” are bases from which to work that will function safely and efficiently, medical treatment facilities, communications systems and housing for soldiers and workers. Now, that’s something that the military knows how to do. Soldiers and reservists are working already to support the international organizations and local entities based in Liberia and Senegal.

I can’t tell you how many or which companies are directly or indirectly involved in this deployment, but I am quite sure there are fabric suppliers and fabricators of fabric products who are providing critical garments and gear, tents and containers, protective equipment and clothing, as well as many other products required to fulfill this mission. It’s just an example of the large-scale operations that the U.S. military is trained to carry out.

This month Advanced Textiles Source has focused on military markets and information useful to company’s involved in making products for the military—or those who wish to participate. The fact is, the military is its own “community”—and a very large one, at that. Just about anything we need in civilian life, soldiers need in theirs. What does that mean for fabricators and textile suppliers?

We generally think in terms of uniforms, backpacks and duffels, tents and tarps–the sort of fabric products we generally associate with the needs of the military, which are all part of this deployment, too, no doubt. But there is a difference this time; this deployment includes an unusually large shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed to protect the soldiers and health care workers from infection. It’s not the first time the U.S. military has deployed for humanitarian purposes, to be sure, but this one might be the most high visibility case we’ve ever witnessed.