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U.S. army defends body armor acquisition

(Xinhua)

08:50, August 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Army on Thursday defended its body armor acquisition, saying no U.S. service member or civilian ever has deployed to the combat theater with defective body armor.

"I am not aware of any incident downrange where the body armor failed to protect against a round it was designed to defeat," said Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, one of the Army's top acquisition officials, at a Pentagon briefing.

The Army procures body armor for all services and Defense Department civilians. A Pentagon Inspector General Report on seven contracts between 2004 and 2006 looked at the way the Army tested body armor, and found the Army did not test how body armor responds when exposed to fungus and to altitude.

The Army asked to be excused from those tests so the service could rush the enhanced small-arms protective plates to service members, explained Army Col. Bill Cole, the project manager at Program Executive Office Soldier.

"All of the recommendations from that report have been implemented," Phillips said. "We won't come to full closure until October this year, when we finish the final recommendations."

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