Army Launches Examination of Armor Testing


If the service thought they'd buried the issue of armor testing, they forgot to ask their new Secretary.

ArmySec John McHugh announced today he had enlisted the services of the National Research Council to examine the service's armor testing procedures and compliance protocols in light of a recent GAO report calling into question the Army's adherence to QA standards.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced today that the National Research Council (NRC) will perform an independent assessment of the Army's body armor testing, following last month's recommendation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for an independent review. The NRC functions under the auspices of the National Academies, a private, nonprofit institution that provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the federal government and the public on critical national issues.

Under an agreement between the National Academies and the director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), the Department of Defense's final independent authority on survivability testing of body armor, the NRC will perform an independent assessment of ongoing body armor testing. The purpose of the NRC assessment is to ensure that the Army maintains the highest standards for testing processes and protocols, thus addressing concerns raised by the GAO about current testing procedures.

On the face of it, this is a good thing. As ballistics experts will tell you, there's still some voodoo in the ballistic testing science and one more set of eyeballs on the problem wouldn't hurt. Maybe at the end of this saga the Pentagon can adopt one standard testing protocol for all military body armor and the notional threats to it so there'll be a bit more confidence in the results and less objectivity.

Walkoff question: Will they open the flexible armor testing standards and procedures can of worms?

-- Christian

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