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Under Fire

Saturday, Jan. 07, 2006 12:01 AM

The geniuses at the Pentagon have apparently determined that the body armor issued to troops in Iraq could stand to be improved.

Despite concerns about the vulnerabilities of the issue armor, additional plates were not ordered by the Marine Corps until September of 2003 (in sufficient quantities to account for known deployed personnel). However, the Army is still mired in its procurement process.

Part of the delay stems from legitimate concerns over the tradeoff between protection and mobility.

But other concerns over equipment would seem to hamstring the effectiveness of American soldiers, including the failure to both upgrade existing Humvees and produce new vehicles, such as an armored truck called the Cougar.

"It is what it is," said the chief executive of the company tasked to build the Cougar. The company claims the Army's insistence on receiving their order before the Corps' "upended" their protection process.

Of course, the Pentagon declined to discuss specifics of the wound data, claiming it would aid the enemy. (As if the insurgents' tactics don't include snipers, discussions of what has proven effective, or anything above spray-and-pray gunfire.)

But being honest with the public about mistakes would certainly help morale at home.

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