Army's About Face on Soldier-Bought Armor

sov-2-front.jpgAP: "Just six months after the Pentagon agreed to reimburse soldiers who bought their own protective gear, the Army has banned the use of any body armor that is not issued by the military."

In a new directive, effective immediately, the Army said it cannot guarantee the quality of commercially bought armor, and any soldier wearing it will have to turn it in and have it replaced with authorized gear.Army officials told The Associated Press on Thursday 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.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which is usually mega-critical of the Pentagon's higher-ups, agrees with the Army this time. "The Army has to ensure some level of quality... They don't want soldiers relying on equipment that is weak or substandard," executive director Paul Rieckhoff tells the AP.But Soldiers for the Truth contends that, "Despite all the evidence to the contrary, including [Army Program Executive Office] Soldier's own ballistic tests conducted at two Army research laboratories that irrefutably proved Dragon Skin was a superior product, the officers charged with providing America's warriors with the best protection possible continue to maintain that the Army's home-grown Interceptor OTV body armor is superior." The site also has the internal Army e-mail telling commanders to diss the Dragon Skin.
A. There may be Soldiers deployed in OIF/OEF who are wearing a commercial body armor called "Dragon Skin," made by Pinnacle Armor, in lieu of their issued Interceptor Body Armor (IBA). Media releases and related advertising imply that Dragon Skin is superior in performance to IBA. The Army has been unable to determine the veracity of these claims.B. The Army has been involved in the development of Dragon Skin and the different technology it employs. In its current state of development, Dragon Skin's capabilities do not meet Army requirements. In fact, Dragon Skin has not been certified by the Army for protection against several small arms threats being encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan today.
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