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Pentagon IG: U.S. Army Cut Corners on Body Armor Tests; Recall Possible

Bar Lowered in Gear Used in Afghan, Iragi War

The Security Blog has learned that the Pentagon inspector general said the Army cut corners when testing body armor used by U.S. troops. In a report issued January 5, the watchdog agency said service officials did not consistently enforce -- and at times lowered -- ballistic testing requirements for protective vests that cost U.S. taxpayers $434 million. Taking shortcuts around the testing standards means the Army has only limited assurance the vests met what the contract required, the report said. The Army has agreed with an inspector general’s recommendation to determine whether a recall of any of the critical battlefield gear is necessary. The body armor used by most American forces consists of a ballistic vest with two large, specially hardened ceramic plates that protect most of the upper body from enemy bullets and shrapnel.