ADF Clothing

The ADF clothing capability is delivered by the Clothing Systems Program Office in the Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group. The capability encompasses the vast majority of clothing and accessories worn by Australian Defence Force (ADF) members across Navy, Army and Air Force, and is managed under two programs, being combat clothing and non-combat clothing.

The Clothing Systems Program Office predominately focusses on ensuring the ongoing supply and availability of required clothing products. However, it also reviews and updates existing items, and designs and develops and delivers new or replacement clothing items.

Performance, comfort and quality are of the highest importance in the supply of clothing to the ADF. The clothing members wear is fundamental to how effectively they can perform their duties and plays a vital function in keeping people safe in a range of demanding and challenging operating environments.

The strategic partnerships that the Clothing Systems Program Office has built with local Australian suppliers have led to a shared understanding of the demanding conditions that ADF clothing must endure. In building on these relationships, Defence and Australian suppliers are able to collaborate on initiatives to improve performance through ongoing technical innovations and refined business operating processes. This in turn maximises responsiveness to Service demands and ensures ADF members have the best equipment to meet their unique operating requirements.

ADF clothing and accessories are supplied by a range of companies based in Australia. The number of suppliers is being progressively consolidated with the Clothing Systems Program Office working over the past ten years to amalgamate a broad range of smaller supply arrangements into a selection of strategic and managed service agreements. The Standing Offer Deeds for ADF clothing and accessories require suppliers to source products from a range of subcontractors, while ensuring value for money and delivering clothing products that meet expected performance and quality standards. This means that in scoping the global market, suppliers will also investigate options for manufacturing in Australia or working with the small to medium sized companies in their supply chain to include Australian sourced materials where it will provide value for money.

Australian companies within the ADF Clothing supply chain are rightly proud of their contribution to the capability of our Defence members, particularly those who have developed close working relationships with Defence. The clothing, textile and footwear industry in Australia has undergone significant change and continues to evolve, with a shift from high volume manufacturers to innovative and specialist suppliers that allow Defence to deliver the latest capability to members.

In 2011, the Government mandated that two product lines were to be made in Australia – the Standard Combat Uniform and the ADF slouch hat. Although procurement of all other items of clothing are not subject to constraints on the location of manufacture, on average, at least 70% of the annual ADF clothing capability budget is spent in Australia, with attendant economic and social benefits.

Reform will continue through the delivery of a Future ADF Clothing System. The Future Clothing System seeks to enhance ADF clothing capability and sustainability through streamlined delivery of combat and non-combat clothing using a contemporary supplier engagement model.

The Future Clothing System will seek to use industry more effectively to deliver products and services which accord with commercial best practice and optimise the clothing supply chain. The Clothing Systems Program Office intends to approach the market through a Request for Information (RFI) process in 2021, followed by a Request for Tender (RFT) in 2022.

Content is current as at August 2021.