Military Body Armor Tests: Incompetence or Corruption?

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In yet another glaring example of sloppy body armor test procedures, the Inspector General says that the US Army “cut corners” when testing body armor according to Richard Lardner of the AP.  This is not the first time – nor is it likely to be the last – that SFTT and major news organizations have reported on the systemic failure of the US Army and DoD to follow established test procedures when evaluating protective gear fielded by our young men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.  

Granted, military vests cost the taxpayers only $434 million, but wouldn’t be nice to think that the military officials who our troops and their families rely upon to provide them with effective body armor would insure that this vital piece of protective gear is properly tested?  

As readers of SFTT are aware, SFTT has chronicled a litany of military procurement and testing failures of those entrusted with providing our troops with best combat equipment possible.

Body Armor Recall

Body Armor Plate Recalls

Congressional Inquiry into Body Armor and Vehicle Safety

GAO recommendations on Body Armor Testing

Broken Military Procurement Process

Congressional Inquiry into Defective Military Helmets and no-bid contract awards

Flaws in M2 and M4 endanger troops in Afghanistan

DODIG sites fault in spare parts for M2 in Afghanistan

Well over a year ago,  SFTT filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain  forensic evidence of the reliability of ceramic platesused by military troops killed in action with wounds to their upper body.  At every step of the way, SFTT has been stonewalled by DoD lawyers.  It is clear that our military brass doesn’t want the “truth” to get out, because it is fearful that “we (the public) wouldn’t be able to handle the truth.”  Indeed, I am beginning to wonder if any of the beltway bureaucrats really care about the well-being and safety of our troops in the field.

Given the level of scrutiny this flawed body armor has received over the past four years, there are only two possible explanations: gross incompetence or corruption.  The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army have an obligation to publicly discipline those responsible for engaging in flawed tests and those that defended these test procedures when presented with incontrovertible evidence that test results were seriously flawed.    In a civilian court of law, I would expect nothing less than a charge of  manslaughter.    It’s time to rid our military procurement system of sycophants and untrustworthy officers and civilian contractors who seem to have more interest in their next promotion or their pocket-book rather than the troops who defend our country so valiantly.

In a cycle of budget austerity, let’s get rid of these self-serving bureaucrats.  Enough is enough!

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