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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Sept. 1, 2023

Can’t find your ODU size at the CG Exchange? Here’s what’s going on.

By MyCG Staff

  • Uniform production delays are caused by a lack of suitable materials throughout the Coast Guard. 
  • The CG’s Clothing Design Technical Office (CDTO) has been working to source a suitable fabric, employ new contractors to make uniforms and ensure that existing and newly joining members are able to obtain suitable uniforms. 
  • Once a suitable fabric solution is found, production of CG Working Uniforms (CGWUs) will begin approximately 28 months after requirements and contract terms are approved and accepted by Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)

A change in fabric manufacturing processes means many Coast Guard members may experience difficulties finding their operational dress uniform (ODU) size at the CG Exchange (CGX).  

The contracted producer of ODU fabric has discontinued its use of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, which was used to make the ODU stain resistant. 

The Coast Guard has many requirements for fabric performance that include stain resistance, colorfastness and durability. With the change in manufacturing processes, production has been reduced while manufacturers identify a new finish that meets minimum CG requirements.   

A manufacturer capable of producing a stain resistant fabric that meets CG requirements  has not yet been identified. DoD, industry, and academia are working together to find creative solutions. The CG team (Clothing Design Technical Office (CDTO), Mission Support (CG-4) and CGX) is addressing this challenge from various approaches.  

Limiting stock disruptions ​

  • CG-4 is working with Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to reduce DLA’s normal inventory reserve requirements allowing CGX to receive inventory. 
  • Ensuring the new Coast Guard members from the CG Academy, Officer Candidate School, Direct Commission Officers, and recruits at Cape May, receive their initial uniforms. The CG reduced the sea bag requirements from four ODUs to three, decreasing demand on the current stock.  

Waiving Fabric Requirements 

  • As manufacturers work to develop the new finish, they have drastically reduced their fabric production, limiting the number of uniforms being produced. The CG is currently waiving certain fabric requirements, including stain resistance, to increase production.  

Increase Manufacturers/Double Uniform Production 

  • One additional fabric manufacturer is close to meeting the CG’s waived requirements. They will hopefully obtain certification to manufacture fabric.  
  • A second production contract was awarded, increasing uniform production capabilities once the fabric is produced.  

Coast Guard Work Uniforms (CGWU)  

  • Production of the newly designed Coast Guard Work Uniforms (CGWU), announced in November 2021, is dependent upon finding a solution to the current fabric shortage.  
  • Once a suitable fabric solution is found, initial CGWUs will be available approximately 28 months  after requirements and contract terms are approved and accepted by Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The first CGWUs will likely be issued to new recruits before distribution to the CGX and general workforce.  


  1. Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) Factsheet | National Biomonitoring Program | CDC 
  2. New uniforms coming soon > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News ( 
  3. Milliken Successfully Eliminates PFAS From Textile Fibers and Finishes