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View Diary: Body armor: The fog of war profiteering (159 comments)

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  •  focusing ..ability to stop bullets is too narrow? (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps we do agree on more than it seemed at first blush, but I have to oppose you on this point.

    The military procurement history has many examples of (ostensibly correct-minded) procurement procedures that - rightly or wrongly - have lost sight of what is effective in the field versus what the procurement specs called for.  I saw a show on this topic (maybe it was the History or Military Channel, don't remember) and they went back to the the early 1800s with examples. Many tried and true improvements to basic military equipment came after the procurement specs - via improvements done by the soldiers themselves (and later becoming part of the next version of military procurement specs).

    To me the "real question at hand" is how well they stop bullets.  Yes, there are other specs (wieght, temps, washability, whatever) but those should be secondary.  That would be like the military saying a rifle doesn't need a chrome chamber because the soldier should keep it clean anyway. And it therefore shouldn't jam so we don't need an assist plunger (to push forward a not fully seated live round), because ... um, the specs assume that won't be the case. Ask a Vietnam infrantryman about the early M16s and government specs.

    And BTW, I have talked to Iraq vets (and currently serving) about DragonSkin.  One time was at an impromptu fund raiser so that a Marine could get one ($4500 cost to him).  I was told they are about 5 pounds heavier - I think he said 20lb versus 15lb for the Interceptor. But they are also more flexible  (many small overlapping ceramic disks, versus a large single piece insert) and more comfortable to wear. Some of our soldiers over there have also done their own testing on scrapped Interceptor vests. I was told that if a second round comes in right on top (or nearby) a first round, it will go right through.  The words he used were "one and done". However the Dragonskin withstood a close-in three round burst to the same location; sometimes two 3-round bursts to the same spot. And here is yet another test, this one from Mail Call:

    You continue to argue dogma versus a large amount of in the field evidence and testing by many other government and law enforcement agencies. And, no, this is not a "close call." You feel it is more important to "look at the evaluation process" and change things within the framework of the system.  If this was for the procurement of a better MRE or something similarly non-life threatening, fine, run it through proper channels and don't "chose sides" among the contractors.

    This is vitally (in the latin root meaning) important.  This is precisely the time to chose sides with respect to a better product - and I don't give a damn if it makes some contractor, or Republican, or Democrat look bad.

    You are continuing to defend bueaurocratic procedures over the lives of our troops. Why are you doing this?  Seriously. Why?

    •  SDI (0+ / 0-)

      The short answer is SDI and the like really pisses me off.  I have seen good politicians (Democrats)screw up for thier own special interest groups too.

      You may be right that DragonSkin is better.  But I would rather hear it from a lab with no vested interest.  That would be a government lab with people we all agree are making an unbiased decision.

      I firmly believe that politics is the worst element of the MCI.  They are the most easily bribed and swayed by words.  The scientist on the other hand have a tend to look at the big picture.  I trust them first.

      •  how much evidence do you want? (1+ / 0-)
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        But I would rather hear it from a lab with no vested interest.  

        How about a lab that isn't even in this country?  Perhaps one in Europe, that is used by various countries military/law agencies, and tests ballistics.  Oops, that would be the company that NBC chose.  Did you even watch the video?

        That would be a government lab with people we all agree are making an unbiased decision.

        You mean, like the FBI labs at Quantico?  Aren't they a government agency (with CSI-like scientists)?  Or the Secret Service?  How about the LAPD swat team?  The lab at the National Institute of Justice?  Or that German company up above.  If you watched that video you may have noted that they "blueprinted" each bullet fired (control for powder, bullet, etc) and used a special firing mechanism including an elongated tunnel to increase consistency of the fired shots.  Seemed very lab-like to me (I'm an engineer, but not a ballistics expert).   BTW, the Discovery Channel used ballistics experts and university professors in their tests. What exactly are you looking for? Tests by Underwriter's Laboratories?  NIST?  Los Alamos National Labs?  I suspect you think global warming is a hoax as well.

        The whole point is that the Pentagon - even with a product that could literally save lives every week - won't give priority scheduling of new tests (side-by-side), won't release details of (supposed)partial-test failures of the DragonSkin, and has the previous head of procurement resign only to resurface three weeks later as a Vice President of the company that makes the Interceptor vests. You were saying something about unbiased decisions?

        Perhaps I'm not as technically rigorous as you are, or maybe I misunderstand your intellectual grasp of the  big picture.  Perhaps the Pentagon is right and everyone - everyone - from in the field soldiers (who foolishly believe things they see with their own eyes) to every other government agency that has tested it is wrong. But I don't think so.

        I really don't give a shit that SDI pisses you off.  It pisses me off as well, but I don't use that as an excuse to say "a pox on both their houses" and just write off the body armor issue as just one more example of political infighting.

        This is possibly costing some American lives every week. To me, that makes it important enough to expedite testing, ruffle a few feathers at the Pentagon, piss off a contractor that contributes a lot to the Republicans, spend $4500 instead of $1600 per soldier, whatever.  To you, apparently, its not.

        •  OK, lets relax a bit (0+ / 0-)

          I have a view that evaluation process was set up by law and should be followed.  You have position that DragonSkin is better. And we each feel strongly about it.  Probably for the same reason as in we want what is best for America and the troops.

          We are each entitled to our opinions.  And I hope the chat has been satisfying for you.  I do hear what you say and I just disagree.  

          Have a nice day.

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