WARFIGHTER SUPPORT: Independent Expert Assessment of Army Body Armor Test Results and Procedures Needed Before Fielding
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The Army has issued soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan personal body armor, comprising an outer protective vest and ceramic plate inserts. GAO observed Preliminary Design Model testing of new plate designs, which resulted in the Armys awarding contracts in September 2008 valued at a total of over 8 billion to vendors of the designs that passed that testing. Between November and December 2008, the Army conducted further testing, called First Article Testing, on these designs. GAO is reporting on the degree to which the Army followed its established testing protocols during these two tests. GAO did not provide an expert ballistics evaluation of the results of testing. GAO, using a structured, GAO-developed data collection instrument, observed both tests at the Armys Aberdeen Test Center, analyzed data, and interviewed agency and industry officials to evaluate observed deviations from testing protocols. However, independent ballistics testing expertise is needed to determine the full effect of these deviations.
- Protective Equipment