In the interest of presenting a more accurate portrayal of Army procurement and stockage procedures, I believe I must respond to The Post's article concerning military footwear ("Military Footwear Supplies Fall Short," Federal Report, Feb. 8). Without doubt, the article and the accompanying cartoon gave readers the impression that our soldiers are neglected and may be called upon to fight without suitable footwear. This is not true.
Our 780,000 active soldiers and 718,000 Reserve Component soldiers have adequate footwear to accomplish worldwide missions. For example, soldiers are equipped with two pairs of combat boots, and the Army has 85 percent of required contingency stocks of this item on hand in storage locations. This is the major footwear item our soldiers need, and it was not mentioned in the article.
The Army is making substantial investments in footwear for our soldiers on a continuing basis. For example, in 1985, we are spending $55 million to buy combat boots to meet operational and contingency requirements. We have requested $79 million to purchase combat boots in 1986. Significant investments are also being made in other categories of footwear.
We use a deliberate decision process in determining how much of our financial resources should be devoted to acquire the equipment to maintain the Army. These decisions are influenced by many factors, to include the dollars available, storage capacity in the United States and abroad, impending introduction of technically advanced items, the capability of industry and the time needed to produce an item. For example, we are replacing the current combat boot and the combat boot overshoe. It would not be prudent to build war reserve stocks for items we intend to replace in the near future.
The Army's civilian and military leadership is dedicated to providing our soldiers with the best available equipment for training and to meet worldwide contingency missions. It is erroneous and misleading to imply otherwise.