SFTT Editor Roger Charles Live on Radio

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We are thrilled to announce that  Geoff “Jeff” Metcalf will conduct a LIVE RADIO INTERVIEW with Col. Roger Charles, editor Stand For The Troops, Wed. Jan 4th at 8PM PST (11 PM EST) Topic: Procurement Scandal over Shoddy Dept. of Defense Approved body armor.    SFTT readers are encouraged to call in and listen to the interview by calling in on the following numbers:

703-836-0384 (land line, VOIP) and (cell)

703-980-7551 plus 2d land line (VOIP) 703-836-6736.

Roger Charles, Vice Chair / Secretary of Stand For The Troops

A career Marine Corps officer from 1967 to 1990, Roger Charles has enjoyed a second career as an award-winning investigative journalist. He was a member in 2004 of the 60 Minutes II production team that earned a Peabody Award for the segment “Abuse at Abu Ghraib.”

Among his other journalistic achievements: Charles was awarded a Medal for Excellence in Investigative Reporting by journalism’s Investigative Reporters and Editors (I.R.E.) association for his 1992 Newsweek cover story, “Sea of Lies,” and was an Emmy finalist for best investigative piece for the Nightlight Special “The USS Vincennes: Public War, Secret War” in 1992.

For television, Charles has served as a consulting investigative reporter and contributor to segment development for 20/20 (a special project on the Oklahoma City bombing), ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, Frontline, Prime Time Live, BBC News, and CNN, among others.

Charles has served as an advisor on numerous stories for various print and electronic media outlets including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and The New Yorker. He has been published in Newsweek, Insight, The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune, Soldier of Fortune, Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute, and the Marine Corps Gazette, where he served as editorial board member from 1987-1989. In 1996, Charles broke the story of the fraudulent use of combat insignia by Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda, Chief of Naval Operations.

“I saw while I was on active duty that many of the national media that cover security and defense issues are truly ill-informed about basic things they need to perform their job properly,” says Charles of his shift to a civilian role as an investigative journalist specializing in a range of national security issues. “This just destroys any kind of credibility this reporting has for any military audience.”

In 1998, Soldiers For The Truth Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan, apolitical, educational foundation whose purpose is meaningful reform of the U.S. defense establishment, was formed, with Charles serving as the editor-in-chief of its newsletter, Voice of the Grunt. Charles remained active on the non-profit’s Board of Trustees until December 2004, when an ailing Hackworth asked him to assume the foundation presidency and Charles now fills the role of Vice Chair, “The foundation was created around three issues: leadership, training, and equipment,” says Charles. “Think of a stool with three legs. Remove any one of those legs and the stool falls apart.”

 POINT BLANK SETTLES BODY ARMOR SUIT WITH DOJ

 

 

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Point Blank settles body armor suit with DoJ

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In yet  another indication that our military procurement process is out of control is the news that Point Blank – who makes much of the body armor vests worn by our military –  has finally settled a long-standing suit with the Department of Justice.

According to a news release cited by Thomson Reuters, “The government asked for “tens of millions” of dollars in penalties and damages, saying that from 1999 to August of 2005 the company knew or disregarded the fact that the fabric was defective. Other companies including Hexcel Corp., Second Chance Body Armor, Armor Holdings and Gator Hawk Armor, used this fabric as well, according to a statement from the government issued when it settled with Hexcel in 2007 for $15 million.”

“The settlement, which Point Blank submitted to bankruptcy court for approval, will allow its proposed sale in bankruptcy court to private equity firm Gores Group to move forward, according to the documents.”

Despite Point Blank’s long record of delivering substandard and often untested equipment to the US military, Point Blank was recently awarded another $30 million contract to produce the outer body armor vests.  I realize that it is beyond the comprehension of most taxpayers and the service members who wear Point Blank’s armor, but this appears to be modus operandi for the folks in charge of protecting the well-being our troops in combat.

As I wrote earlier, “Let’s face it, our military and civilian leaders don’t give a damn!  If they did, the people responsible for testing body armor and conducting fair and impartial testing would have long ago been fired.  Furthermore, those who continue to quibble and provide false information to Congressional leaders and the public, such as, Lt. Gen. William Phillips (principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), Col. Cole, Project Manager for Soldier Protection, and US Army Brigadier General Peter N. Fuller, the Program Executive Officer of the Soldier Systems Center, should be relieved of command.”

Again, despite adjudicated evidence that our body armor is not reliable, our military procurement leaders still return to the same corrupt and tainted trough to equip our troops.  When will the public and our Congressional leaders wake up and say “No mas”?

This is clearly a sweet deal for the Gores Group since any potential  liability will have been settled or dismissed if Point Blank is to emerge from bankruptcy.   Partners and Managing Directors of Gores Group should think twice before allowing the stench of corruption at Point Blank contaminate their existing investment portfolio.

Richard W. May

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