What directive authorizes appropriated funds to be used for buying civilian clothing?
DoD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R (FMR), Volume 2A, Chapter 1, paragraph 010213 contains an extensive discussion of the uses of RDTE funding. Below is the most relevant section from DoD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R, Volume 2A, Chapter 1, paragraph 010213 with regards to this question:
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010213 B.1. RDT&E Appropriations
a. RDT&E will finance research, development, test and evaluation efforts performed by contractors and government installations, including procurement of end items, weapons, equipment, components, materials and services required for development of equipment, material, or computer application software; its Development Test and Evaluation (DT&E); and its Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) as provided for in paragraph C.5. (Test Articles and Test Support) below.
According to the “Background” information, it appears that the clothing in question was material that was a requirement to complete RDT&E testing. As such, per FMR Volume 2A, Chapter 1, Paragraph 010213 B.1.a, it could easily be justified as an expense of the RDT&E appropriation.
Caution: Please recognize that if the items in question are paid for using any DoD appropriation, those items are U.S. Government property and as such must be dealt with accordingly. They are not the property of the individual.
Suggestion: Read DoD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R, Volume 2A, Chapter 1, paragraph 010213 for a full discussion of the use of RDTE appropriations. In addition, since your email address indicates that you are assigned to an Air Force organization, we most strongly recommend that you contact both your local comptroller and contracting organizations for more information and their policy interpretation of this issue.