"Recently … DOD has started circumventing this policy by issuing cash allowances for soldiers to purchase their own training shoes," their draft letter states. "In addition, a recent news report highlighted an Air Force master sergeant who was twice issued boots made in China.

"When asked how he could exchange them for American-made boots, he was told, 'Good luck.' In both cases, the military purchased foreign products despite the availability of the exact same items that are manufactured and readily available in the U.S."

The issue of trade with China in particular has surfaced as the November election nears, and both President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney have promised to be tougher on China in an effort to help maintain U.S. jobs. The Michaud-Hunter letter also hits on this point.

"At a time when our country is at war and when our economy is recovering from a deep recession, it is more important than ever that DOD comply with the Berry Amendment," it says. "We should not rely on other countries, particularly those who may have competing global interests, to supply our forces with basic items. This is especially true when there are millions of Americans looking for work.

"We are deeply troubled that DOD is circumventing the Berry Amendment, and we urge you to take all steps necessary to ensure that your agency complies with the spirit and the intent of the law."