Haaland’s Innovative Rent the Camo Program Included in NDAA
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s (NM-01) innovative Rent the Camo program was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) when it passed by a unanimous bipartisan vote last night. The program is outlined in Haaland’s Rent the Camo: Access to Maternity Wear Act, a bill she introduced with bipartisan cosponsors last week.
Earlier this year, Haaland heard from several military women around the country and in her district that were struggling with the cost and availability of military maternity uniforms. After doing some additional research, she heard from hundreds more female Servicemembers who shared their stories of frustration and struggle in attempting to single-handedly get access to maternity wear and uniforms. A recent report from the U.S. Government and Accountability Office found that pregnancy and childcare are some of the top reasons women say they left the service.
The provisions included in the NDAA last night will create a “Rent the Camo” pilot program, fashioned after Rent the Runway, that issues maternity uniforms and maternity uniform related items to pregnant military members at no cost to the Servicemember while ensuring that uniforms are free of toxic chemicals that may harm the baby or mother.
“Women deserve to have long successful careers in the military, but right now the cost of paying for maternity clothes is another unfair barrier women have to overcome to pursue their careers. When I was growing up, my mother was forced out of the Navy because she was pregnant, and though times have changed mothers are still being forced out of the military through more covert barriers,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “We came up with a creative solution that will ensure women in the military don’t have extra burdens to bear when bringing children into the world, ultimately leading to more equity in the military, all while ensuring military uniforms are made to keep moms and babies safe from harmful chemicals.”
Service Womens Action Network (SWAN) and Partners In PROMISE, two organizations that advocate for women and families in the military, endorsed Haaland’s bill.
Rent the Camo: Access to Maternity Wear Act is cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Michael Waltz (Fla.-6), Chrissy Houlahan (Penn.-6), Cheri Bustos (Ill.-17), Judy Chu (Calif.-27), Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.-40), Filemon Vela (Tex.-34), Julia Brownley (Calif.-26), Ed Case (Hawaii-01), and Michael R. Turner (Ohio-10).
Rent the Camo: Access to Maternity Wear Act that was included in the NDAA specifically:
- Directs the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), in coordination with the Secretaries concerned, to carry out a pilot program under which each Secretary concerned will establish an office for issuing maternity-related uniform items to pregnant members of the Armed Forces on a temporary basis and at no cost to the member.
- Ensures there is a healthy stock-level of maternity-related uniform items, including service uniforms, utility uniforms, and other items relating to command and duty assignment.
- Demands that maternity uniforms are not treated with the chemical permethrin.
- Gives Secretaries and Directors the flexibility to execute the pilot program based on their unique individual Service needs to include timelines, number of items being issued, and development of further guidance, etc.
- Requires inspection, processing, repairing, cleaning and re-stocking returned items before re-issuance.
- Requires the Director of DLA, in coordination with the Secretaries, to submit a report to the Congressional defense committees including an overview of the costs associated with, and any savings realized by, the pilot program including a comparison of the cost of maintaining a stock of maternity-related uniform item for issuance, recommendations on continuance of the program, whether legislation is needed to extend the program, and any other matters the Secretary of Defense deems appropriate by Sept 30, 2025.
- Provides $10,000,000 to implement the pilot program.