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Citizens Support Where Pentagon Fails

Marines recall faulty body armor. In yet another blow to the struggle to supply soldiers with adequate armor, 5,277 defective vests were recalled today from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In response to the armor shortages, new Oklahoma legislation would create "Patriot Plates," a $35 license plate of which $20 would go to supply body armor for Oklahoma soldiers. Soldiers have been lacking this armor for months now. According to an April GAO report: (PDF)
Because of the shortages, many individuals bought body armor with personal funds. The Congressional Budget Office estimated (1) that as many as 10,000 personnel purchased vests, (2) as many as 20,000 purchased plates with personal funds, and (3) the total cost to reimburse them would be $16 million in 2005. (P. 78)
Another continuing problem is a lack of adequately armored HMMWVs. "Current HMMWVs are protected only by canvas tops and have no additional armor protection." (P. 122) In this case, for protection from ambushes and roadside bombs, an add-on armor kit is required. However, "as of September 2004, the Army supplied 8,771 of the 13,872 Add-on Armor kits required by CENTCOM but still needed 5,101 additional kits to meet all requirements." (P. 121) Attacks on vehicles have accounted for as many as 40 percent of the 1,037 deaths attributed to hostile action.

But at least we can sleep soundly knowing that manufacturers are seeing record profits from all of this.
posted by ScottMorris on May 10, 2005 - 31 comments

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