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Army bans use of privately purchased body armor

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Warren, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Warren

    Warren Well-Known Member

    Not sure if this is the right sub-forum..but here goes

    They fail to equip the soldiers and then turn around and say to them you canot equip yourselves.

    I get that some of the armor may be substandard but better some than none.

    I'm guessing this decision was made by someone who has not had to face enemy fire.

    Link Here

    WASHINGTON - Soldiers will no longer be allowed to wear body armor other than the protective gear issued by the military, Army officials said Thursday, the latest twist in a running battle over the equipment the
    Pentagon gives its troops in
    Iraq and

    Army officials told The Associated Press that the order was prompted by concerns that soldiers or their families were buying inadequate or untested commercial armor from private companies — including the popular Dragon Skin gear made by California-based Pinnacle Armor.

    "We're very concerned that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that doesn't provide the level of protection that the Army requires people to wear. So they're, frankly, wasting their money on substandard stuff," said Col. Thomas Spoehr, director of materiel for the Army.

    Murray Neal, chief executive officer of Pinnacle, said he hadn't seen the directive and wants to review it.

    "We know of no reason the Army may have to justify this action," Neal said. "On the surface this looks to be another of many attempts by the Army to cover up the billions of dollars spent on ineffective body armor systems which they continue to try quick fixes on to no avail."

    The move was a rare one by the Army. Spoehr said he doesn't recall any similar bans on personal armor or devices. The directives are most often issued when there are problems with aircraft or other large equipment.

    Veterans groups immediately denounced the decision.

    Nathaniel R. Helms, editor of the Soldiers for the Truth online magazine Defense Watch, said he has already received a number of e-mails from soldiers complaining about the policy.

    "Outrageously we've seen that (soldiers) haven't been getting what they need in terms of equipment and body armor," said Sen. Christopher Dodd (news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., who wrote legislation to have troops reimbursed for equipment purchases. "That's totally unacceptable, and why this directive by the Pentagon needs to be scrutinized in much greater detail."

    But another veterans group backed the move.

    "I don't think the Army is wrong by doing this, because the Army has to ensure some level of quality," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "They don't want soldiers relying on equipment that is weak or substandard."

    But, Rieckhoff said, the military is partially to blame for the problem because it took too long to get soldiers the armor they needed. "This is the monster they made," he said.

    Early in the Iraq war, soldiers and their families were spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on protective gear that they said the military was not providing.

    Then, last October, after months of pressure from families and members of Congress, the military began a reimbursement program for soldiers who purchased their own protective equipment.

    In January, an unreleased Pentagon study found that side armor could have saved dozens of U.S. lives in Iraq, prompting the Army and Marine Corps to order thousands of ceramic body armor plates to be shipped to troops there this year.

    The Army ban covers all commercial armor. It refers specifically to Pinnacle's armor, saying that while the company advertising implies that Dragon Skin "is superior in performance" to the Interceptor Body Armor the military issues to soldiers, "the Army has been unable to determine the veracity of these claims."

    "In its current state of development, Dragon Skin's capabilities do not meet Army requirements," the Army order says, and it "has not been certified to protect against several small arms threats that the military is encountering in Iraq and Afghanistan."

    The Marine Corps has not issued a similar directive, but Marines are "encouraged to wear Marine Corps-issued body armor since this armor has been tested to meet fleet standards," spokesman Bruce Scott said.

    Military officials have acknowledged that some troops — often National Guard or Reservists — went to war with lesser-quality protective gear than other soldiers were issued.

    "We'll be upfront and recognize that at the start of the conflict there were some soldiers that didn't have the levels of protection that we wanted," Spoehr said. Now, he added, "we can categorically say that whatever you're going to buy isn't as good as what you're going to get" from the military.

    In interviews Thursday, Army officials said aggressive marketing by body armor manufacturers was fueling public concerns that troops are not getting the protection they need.

    Army Lt. Col. Scott Campbell said the Army has asked Pinnacle to provide 30 sets of the full Dragon Skin armor so it can be independently tested. He said Pinnacle has indicated it won't be able to provide that armor until May, and the company said that is still the plan.

    Campbell said initial military tests on small sections of the Dragon Skin armor had disappointing results. He said Pinnacle has received $840,000 in research funding to develop improved armor.

    Spoehr said he believes the directive will have little impact on soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan because it's likely that nearly all are wearing the military-issued body armor.

    There have been repeated reports of soldiers or families of soldiers buying commercial equipment or trying to raise thousands of dollars to buy it for troops who are preparing to deploy overseas.
  2. Nitrogen

    Nitrogen Well-Known Member

    Awesome! So this means that the Armed services has enough armor for every servicemember in Iraq and Afgnastan, and families don't need to purchace any more, right?

    Oh wai...

    I don't get it.
  3. MrTwigg

    MrTwigg Well-Known Member

    *** ?

    This really, really, sucks ! :banghead: :fire: :cuss: :scrutiny:

    Some weenie needs to be tied to the front of a Bradley and given the privilege of riding point ! :mad::evil: :fire:
  4. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Boundless courage in the rear lines.
  5. Kharn

    Kharn Well-Known Member

    Bull :cuss:
    From what I have read in publically-available sources: No one in the employ of the US Government gets on the plane to Iraq without a set of Interceptor body armor, and it has been that way since the war. Those that leave the US without it are issued a set when they arrive at their staging area (Kuwait or Saudi, usually) before entering Iraq.

  6. garyk/nm

    garyk/nm Well-Known Member

    So, commercially available armor is inferior to military issue, which goes to the lowest bidder? Isn't this the definition of irony?
  7. solareclipse

    solareclipse Well-Known Member

    half my friends who went active and were deployed spent a fortune on their own gear. saved one of them for a fact.

    this is a political move. now look at them request more money for that elusive armor... aka 1foot plate that won't cover much on anyone bigger than a 10 year old
  8. Kharn

    Kharn Well-Known Member

    Not all body armor exceeds the military standards, and its easier to ban all non-issued equipment than to split hairs on what passes the test and what doesnt.

  9. shermacman

    shermacman Well-Known Member

    Come on people, if you are going to knee-jerk at least read the article.
  10. AZTOY

    AZTOY Well-Known Member

    Trust me we have all have Interceptor body armor in Iraq.

    Also Kharn is right you can't get on off post or on plane without it and on most post you don't need to wear it.

    By the way ,my body armor and plates are collecting dust under my bed .:neener:
  11. DRZinn

    DRZinn Well-Known Member

    But that contradicts the mantra that the Bush Administration isn't protecting the troops!
  12. longeyes

    longeyes member

    Somebody paid off somebody and got the contract. Next question.
  13. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

    The owner of Point Blank (official stuff, which was defective in some batches) has made enough money off of all this that late last year, he threw a wretched-show-of-excess $10 MILLION dollar bat mitsvah party for his daughter.

    Wasn't there something about "war profiteers", once upon a time?
  14. 91Bravo

    91Bravo Active Member

    RE: there's always been body armor since the war...

    I got mine two months before driving BACK south to Kuwait. My armor from Kuwait to Mosul in April of 03 was two layers of sandbags in my deuce & a 1/2. Hope everybody does have it now...Correction, I had a new "flak jacket" to replace my national guard Vietnam Era armor when activated, that would stop pistol rounds and some low velocity fragments. I received armor plates at the previously mentioned time. I don't consider "soft armor" (no plates) to be much armor at all.
  15. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Well-Known Member

    No, the commercially available armor is designed for police type use in an urban setting where you're generally trying to stop handgun rounds, not a war zone where the guy shooting at you has a battle rifle.
  16. onikuma

    onikuma Active Member

  17. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    Oh No! The Eeeevil Bush Admin's next step will be to ban soldiers from carrying their favorite hunting rifle during combat or from wearing a Breast Cancer awareness ribbon on their uniforms.The horrors of it all!

  18. madmike

    madmike Well-Known Member

    The problem also comes if the stuff is heavier or poorly fitted--can hinder the soldier. Also, there are standard ways to crack body armor on a casualty. That's harder with non-standard armor. Then you get the troop wearing the substandard stuff sent to him, because he's heard bad stories about the issue stuff. And some troops want to wear the LIGHTER civvy stuff, imagining it's as good or not caring it's not, just because it's lighter.

    Related problems: early in Afghanistan, some Guard units without modern commo used family band radios...which are not encrypted. They were stopped for obvious reasons.

    Some units were welding plates on their trucks to "armor" them. What alloy? Attached where? Doing what to the engine life and tires from the weight? Heat treated how? Does it spall when struck, thus creating more casualties than a straight hit from an RPG? How hard is it to get through to perform maintenance or rescue?

    The Marines are dumping the extra plates they're being issued. Too much armor is weight you would rather have in ammo and water. Maneuverability is also a good thing to have.

    I got standard PASGT armor in '99 for Desert Fox. I'm not aware of ANY units that don't have PASGT or IBA. The former's only Level IIA, but fragments are the primary threat. And EVERYONE conducting patrols has IBA, to my knowledge. Heck, they have IBA for Basic Training now.

    Though I do recall being promised flotation vests for the Mississippi Flood in 93. A colonel who looked like bill clinton's brother promised my wife, who I was sitting next to on a 2 day pass, that EVERYONE had flotation devices, trucks standing by and no more than 4 weeks of duty.

    So sorting out the stories is always a problem.
  19. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Well-Known Member

    "Lowest bidder" doesn't mean the same thing as "cheapest possible product regardless of all else". I think a lot of people misunderstand the bidding process.

    The buyer (government) will spell out in great detail exactly what they need their product to do. "I need something that will do 'X'", for example. Contractors will then tell the buyer how much they will need to be paid to provide 'X'. The one that can do it the cheapest gets the contract.

    Doing this, the buyer gets 'X', which is what was needed in the first place. Contractors aren't allowed to subtract anything from the very detailed specifications provided to them when bidding to build 'X'. The governmend simply says "I want this" and the contractors do it.

    I wouldn't think that much commercially available armor is better than the Interceptor. I am a LEO and my vest now doesn't cover nearly as much area on my body as my Interceptor did. Please also remember that the primary purpose of military body armor is to protect against fragmentation, not small arms.

    Also, I can't speak for the Army, but in the Marine Corps everybody was issued body armor (either Interceptor if your unit had it already, or the old style) at supply when they checked in to their unit. That was regardless of any combat deployment or any other factors. Every fleet Marine was issued body armor, a pack (with sleeping bag, and a bunch of other stuff), and a rifle (unless your T/O weapon was something else). Rest assured, the Marines aren't going anywhere without the proper gear.
  20. Kharn

    Kharn Well-Known Member

    And the government tests the deliveries to make sure the contractor's product meets specification. If more than the allowed number of products in the sample fail the QC checks, the entire delivery lot is rejected and the contractor must do another production run.

    Thats why you'll see dented LC ammo for sale, it failed government QC, so the military wont accept it for use in the sandbox and LC has sold it on the domestic market to try to at least cover the cost of the bad batch.


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