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Ike Skelton Opening Statement on DoD Body Armor Programs

June 6th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

“The committee will come to order. This morning the committee meets to receive testimony on Department of Defense body armor programs. We have with us today two panels of distinguished witnesses representing the military services, private industry, and independent agencies. I want to thank all of our witnesses in attendance today.

“The jurisdiction of this committee is such that we cover a very wide range of issues. But the significance of other issues pales relative to the importance of providing the best protection possible to our men and women serving in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

“This committee has been at the forefront in providing necessary non-partisan oversight on the full spectrum of force protection matters. Since 2001 this committee has authorized over $5.1 billion to help the services procure body armor and expand the industrial base.

“Effective body armor is the baseline component to force protection and it is critical to promoting the survivability of military personnel serving in extreme combat environments. It has to work and it has to be the best available bar none.

“Recent media reports have suggested that we may not be providing the best body armor available. NBC News commissioned an independent round of limited ballistic tests that compared current body armor to another system called Dragon Skin. NBC indicates the results from these limited tests favor Dragon Skin over the current military interceptor body armor system or IBA.

“NBC tests contradict the information provided to this committee by military and Department of Defense officials in numerous hearings and briefings. Most recently the Army indicated to this committee in a closed briefing on May 24 that they conducted first article live fire ballistic tests on the Dragon Skin system in May of 2006. These tests also included environmental constraints such as subjecting the vests to extreme temperatures and fluids to ensure the vests would hold up to conditions troops might face in the field. The Army tests indicated Dragon Skin failed to meet military body armor specifications.
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Tags: Iraq War · Rep. Ike Skelton

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