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Army bans use of privately purchased body armor

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

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  1. Warren

    Warren Member

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    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
    Afghanistan.


    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    *** ?

    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

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    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Boundless courage in the rear lines.
     
  5. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    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.

    Kharn
     
  6. garyk/nm

    garyk/nm Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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.

    Kharn
     
  9. shermacman

    shermacman Member

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

    AZTOY Member

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    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 Member

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    In a pot of water, 200 degrees and rising slowly..
    But that contradicts the mantra that the Bush Administration isn't protecting the troops!
     
  12. longeyes

    longeyes member

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

    Manedwolf member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    sigh..
     
  17. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    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!

    :rolleyes:
     
  18. madmike

    madmike Member

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    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 Member

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    "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 Member

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    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.

    Kharn
     
  21. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Well there you go,,,
    The Army bans something and the people who really need it go right on using whatever they have on hand.
    If there are sufficient stocks of Mil issue body armor then nobody will need their own.
    I am betting this directive does not apply to Reservists and Guardsmen either.

    What are the powers that be going to do if somebody gets caught wearing something other than Mil-Issue?
    Give the trooper an Article 15, big deal.
    Deny the death benefit? Try getting that one past Congress!
    Send the Trooper home? Heh, heh.
     
  22. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    At least not under fire recently. Or, are very old-school, ie, "when I was
    in Nam we didn't have _______." Well, dad, can we use the newer
    technologies rather than don helmets with horns and carry wooden shields?
    Warfare has progressed a little since the vikings.

    That is true now, but not earlier in the war.

    This is why side plates are *slowly* becoming available. But, the appeal
    of the Dragonskin is the option to buy full torso wraparound. You would
    still need shoulder pads, neck, groin protection.

    Bingo. We're certainly not going to go through each soldier's gear on an
    individual basis regarding armor, optics, weapons. After all, we'd rather
    have them sitting for days doing absolutely nothing while they waited for
    flights anyway. However, there's a past issue of Newsweek where you can
    see a general on the FRONT COVER who is clearly wearing non-standard
    armor and, judging by the plate carrier thickness, is probably one of those
    wonderful 2 lb poly plates. It's good to be the general.

    Or the flipside mantras of "WMDs", "imminent threat", "Saddam is working
    with Al Qaeda", "things are getting better all the time", "stay the
    course"....:rolleyes: I guess it's easy to stay the course when yours
    doesn't include daily IEDs in a country that had absolutely nothing to do
    with 9-11.

    Research the type of armor mentioned in the article.

    I had a tourniquet on mine that was non-standard at the time until it became
    standard months later. I guess you would prefer that I left it in my footlocker
    until some fobbit who spent his days fishing at Camp V (or back CONUS)
    decided it was "ok" to use? My experience has been that these people
    typically drag their butts because they do NOT have to worry about being
    under fire the next day on a convoy.

    91B was there before I was and is 100% correct. Likewise, if you're NG or
    USAR, you got needed equipment last. And, I'm not talking about just
    armor. If I went into more detail, someone would show up at my door.
     
  23. half elf

    half elf Member

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    IIRC the last time this topic came up the gernerals were wearing dragonskin, and requiring the grunts to wear interceptor. I have seen the cutrrent system, and prefer the dragonskin to it in the enviroment of SWA because the ceramic trauma plates are bulky, and brittle. The dragonskin would not be as restrictive on a mechanic or other personnell who do more than just sit behind a desk.
     
  24. madmike

    madmike Member

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    5 years active, 16 years Guard. My wife has 2 years Guard. Had PASGT then Interceptor at every unit since day 1 in 1985. Signed for it. Hanging in our closet on VERY sturdy hangers. Good shape. She had IBA at Basic.

    That includes 5 years in an Air Guard unit designated as "follow team" not "lead team." Original M16s (not A1s), outdated web gear, but modern body armor.

    PM me for my address and you can send a check.

    (There's a good chance, just like with the Abrams in the Gulf that were supposed to have been converted to 120mm from 105mm and weren't that a unit that is SUPPOSED to have current armor on the TO&E decided not to "waste" the money on that "battle crap" when there was a new conference room with mahogany tables needing built. After all, EVERYONE KNOWS (I have junior and senior personnel tell me this EVERY drill:rolleyes: ) that you get an ENTIRE NEW ISSUE before you deploy.

    Yes that issue you have is only a PRETEND issue, not the REAL issue. So there's no need for supply to "Waste" money on stuff "The government" will give you anyway.

    This is not a failure of the DoD, DA or DAF. This is a failure of a RECKLESS CRIMINAL IDIOT in charge of material supplies.)
     
  25. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Are you claiming you had a pre-PASGT era flak vest or are you calling PASGT a "Vietnam-era" vest?
     
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