Pentagon: Army Didn't Properly Test Body Armor

Army rushed through plates, can't prove they meet standards

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 17, 2011 10:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Army didn’t properly test much of the body armor deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and can’t prove that it meets military standards, the Pentagon’s inspector general declared in a scathing new report. Because of the demands of the conflict, the army rushed some bullet-blocking plates into the field without testing them at certain altitudes and temperatures, the AP explains, and what testing it did conduct used the wrong sized plates and inconsistent ammunition.

The inspector general didn’t test the plates itself, so it couldn’t say for sure that they’re defective—merely that the army can provide only “limited assurance” that they’re not. The body armor used by most US troops comprises a ballistic vest with two large, hard ceramic plates, and the investigation is a response to a 2006 New York Times article finding that 80% of Marines shot in their upper bodies in Iraq had died because of inadequate armor. The Army responded to the report by insisting that it “conducts rigorous and extensive testing.”

Soldiers in Iraq don their armor in this file photo.
Soldiers in Iraq don their armor in this file photo.   (AP Photo / Nabil al-Jurani)
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