Army Accused of Failing to Properly Test 5 Million Pieces of Body Armor

Tuesday, August 09, 2011
(photo: U.S. Army)
It’s no wonder that during the thick of the Iraq war American soldiers repeatedly purchased their own body armor to protect themselves from insurgent attacks, given the news that the Department of Defense failed to properly test more than five million bullet-proof plates provided to troops.
From 2004 to 2006, body armor manufactured by six different companies (ArmorWorks, Simula, Cercom, Composix, Armacel Armor and Ceradyne) either was not fully tested—or not tested at all—by the military’s Program Manager Soldier Equipment (PM SEQ).
In addition, Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) personnel in Phoenix “did not use an appropriate random sampling methodology to select a statistically representative sample…”
The Interceptor Body Armor in question cost the Pentagon about $2.5 billion, according to an audit by the Defense Department’s inspector general.
Representative Louise Slaughter (D-New York) requested the audit following a New York Times story in 2006 that reported 80% of U.S. Marines who died in Iraq due to upper body wounds could have survived if they had more body armor.
“Despite armor upgrades, many soldiers remain unhappy with the quality of their body armor, and have continued to purchase equipment from private companies,” Slaughter wrote in a letter to the inspector general. “Unfortunately, the Army recently barred service personnel from using non-DoD procured body armor. I am concerned that our soldiers in the field—who think they need better armor than provided to them by DoD—were not consulted before the Army banned privately bought armor.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Army Did Not Properly Test More Than 5 Million Bullet-Proof Plates (by Alexandra Duszak, iWatch-Center for Public Integrity)
Ballistic Testing for Interceptor Body Armor Inserts Needs Improvement (Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense) (pdf)


Richard May 12 years ago
it's a very sad story, but one that cleary demonstrates that our military procurement officers are much more interested in oiling the wheels of the military-industrial complex than providing our brave heroes with the protective gear they need. the program executive officer at ft. belvoir has lied for years to defend the integrity of interceptor body armor and has been aided and abetted by us army and dod officials to cover up the stench. despite repeated inspector general and gao audits that have cast doubt on body armor testing procedures, the program executive officer simply continues to thumb his nose at the auditors, the public and military personnel whose safety has been entrusted to him. it would make me cry, if it didn't make me so angry!

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