What, no government conspiracy?

Seems the Government Accounting Office has released the results of its investigation into U.S. Army and Marine Corps body armor testing and procurement.

Specifically, we found that the Army and Marine Corps

• are currently meeting theater ballistic requirements and the required amount

needed for personnel in theater, including the amounts needed for the surge of

troops into Iraq;

• have controls in place during manufacturing and after fielding to assure that body

armor meets requirements; and

• share information regarding ballistic requirements and testing, and the

development of future body armor systems, although they are not required to do

so.

Sorry Pinnacle. No. Government. Conspiracy.

Comments

  1. Nicholas says:

    Ah, but you see, this proves it! Not only is there a massive DoD conspiracy, now the GAO is in on it too ;)

    /Rosie

  2. Old Tanker says:

    So Dragonskin ain't the end all beat all. Who'd a thunk the military could spec out what they wanted in body armor

  3. Joel says:

    The advantage in Dragonskin isn't that it provides BETTER armor protection (it's pretty much equivalent). It's that it's LIGHTER and LESS BULKY than the IBA.

    That's what us proponents have said all along (at least I have). I know that my IBA works. However, I believe Dragonskin provides the same protection but at less weight and bulk.

    And Slab, as you know, mobility is a real friend to have when you're being shot at.

    The main point is that Dragonskin is far more expensive than the IBA, which also goes against what the Army says when it states it buys the best equipment. It doesn't. It never has. And, quite frankly, I don't expect it to. I'm a grunt… and I know my life is expendable in the end run… and, somewhere some beancounter is calculating my life (and all soldiers' lives) against the cost of upgrading to Dragonskin. Fine with me.

    One of the beefs I DO have with the Army is that they prevent the individual soldier from purchasing Dragonskin for themselves. I do call bullshit on that one.

  4. Slab says:

    Joel, I have heard different than you, then. I have been told by several sources that DS is heavier than IBA. Also, I have been in an e-mail contact with LTC Masters. Right now, much of the information he has given me is FOUO, but suffice it to say that DS does not meet theater requirements, and in order for it to meet those requirements, it would end up weighing significantly more than IBA. Although I disagree with micromanaging policies like MarAdmin 267/07, I think it is in the best interests of Soldiers and Marines given the amount of disinformation out there regarding DS, thanks to Pinnacle, SFTT, the Discovery Channel, et al. Many of our troops might otherwise spend an exorbitant amount of money on body armor that does not meet environmental standards, or meet theater standards for ballistic protection from armor piercing threats.

  5. Solomon2 says:

    I do not like what I'm reading in this report. I know from experience that it is entirely possible for a system to flunk its tests, yet for some congressman to force its purchase by earmarking it on a bill.

    The report does NOT say that bad equipment was not purchased. It does claim, however, that the equipment actually issued to "operating forces" was quality-tested.

    (There is an ambiguity of language here (page 5 paragraph 1): what is the meaning of the term, "lots"? In engineering-speak quality-testing of production batches (or "lots") is done on a statistical basis, meaning not all units are tested but only a few. When done properly, that's O.K., but if the testing isn't properly random, the results can be skewed. Furthermore, as the report points out, there still isn't a standard for testing "soft" body armor. If this testing was contracted out to the lowest bidder rather than being done in-house, I would be very suspicious of the results.)

    Presumably body armor not issue to operating forces was stored, or used for training purposes. Yet how easy is it for such items to end up in the field? Remember how Rummy went scavenging for armored Humvees to send to Iraq? How easy would it be for not-so-good armor to end up in the field, if not with "operating forces" then with "contractors and non-DOD civilians"?

    commanders, at their discretion, can provide body armor to any personnel within their area of operation.commanders, at their discretion, can provide body armor to any personnel within their area of operation.

    So commanders have discretion in these matters, and may reason not-so-good body armor is better than none at all. Maybe, but a false sense of security is also dangerous. Just ask the shipwrecked sailors who employed "Shark repellant" during WWII. Oh that's right, you can't, because only a few survived…

  6. Solomon2 says:

    Who'd a thunk the military could spec out what they wanted in body armor

    Shortest mil-spec I ever saw was four pages long, and that was for sugar cookies. (Fruitcake was fourteen.) If stuff doesn't get spec'd out, manufacturers cut corners; that's how the Union Army ended up with shoddy boots during the civil war.

    So of course, everything is spec'd. But where no set standards exist, as for soft armor, there is cause for worry…

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