May 02 2001

SENATOR SHELBY COMMENDS DEFENSE DEPARTMENT FOR REVERSAL OF CHINESE BERETS DECISION

 U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today commended the Department of Defense for their reversal of an earlier decision to purchase black berets from China.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in March, Senator Shelby expressed concerns with the Defense Department's decision to issue the black beret to all Army soldiers as standard uniform headgear, in addition to his concerns that the berets were manufactured in Communist China.

"I commend Secretary Rumsfeld for his reversal of this decision," said Shelby. "Particularly in light of recent events, I believe the purchase of berets from Communist China would send the wrong message to American soldiers and the hard working people they are charged with defending."

"I continue to believe that the Army is unjustified in its decision to issue the black beret as standard uniform headgear for all Army soldiers," added Shelby. "The unintended consequence of this order is that it will belittle the symbol of the Army Rangers who have earned the right to wear the black beret. I hope Secretary Rumsfeld will reconsider this decision which will surely affect morale."