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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

New Army Armor

I just wanted to call everyone’s attention to the story we’re running today on the Army’s new body armor design. As some of you may know, body armor is a subject about which I have spent a considerable amount of coverage over the years (no pun intended, I swear).

What I found in my reporting put the Army and Marine Corps in a defensive crouch for years, prompting major recalls of body armor production lots that had not passed quality assurance testing.

While the ground services haven’t changed the fundamental components of their body armor, both the Army and Marine Corps have redesigned their vests to make them more comfortable and safer than the Point Blank-manufactured Interceptor. The latest design from the Army is a positive step in this regard. Having spent a lot of time in body armor in war zones, I have never been a fan of the Interceptor design for comfort and coverage reasons, and it’s good to see that the services have made changes.

DT obtained photos of the new Army vest from PEO Soldier, so let’s take an inside look at what changes have been made.

IOTV-front-web.jpg

You’ll notice in the first photo (front view) that the vest wraps around the body more efficiently and has integrated side-plate carriers that can adjust up and down. There’s also a pull-tab just below the chin that allows the wearer to doff the vest in a hurry. Also, check out all the MOLLE webbing – attachment points for mag pouches and accessory pockets.

IOTV-back-web.jpg

In the second photo (back view), you’ll see a large outer pouch for the ESAPI plate. The larger ESAPI was always harder to fit in the Interceptor pocket and was exposed to the elements from the upper flap. There’s also a larger haul loop on the back to drag your wounded buddy out of harm’s way. You can also see the inner mesh lining of the vest that helps wick moisture away from the body.

IOTV-open-web.jpg

The last photo (open front view) shows a more detailed look at the inner components of the new IOTV, its wrap around fit and the neck and chin guard integrated into the collar. Also notice the side access point on the left shoulder. That’s so medics can get to wounds easier and also allows a soldier to vent the vest in stifling heat.

At first blush, I’d say the Army has done a good job picking its new design. Soldiers will be a lot more comfortable in the thing and it seems as if the vest will offer more protection from blast scenarios than the Interceptor. What isn’t shown in these pictures is the inner cummerbund – which helps distribute the weight onto the waist – and a new lower-back protector to protect the kidneys and other vital organs where the vest tends to ride up.

The next step in body armor design will likely be a fundamental shift in ballistic resistant components. As far as I know, the new Army vest is made of the same materials as the prior one: Kevlar panels with boron carbide ceramic and Dyneema-backed plates. Both components are heavy and ceramic is hard to manufacture and is a delicate material. I understand from some sources that Pinnacle’s Dragon Skin armor was not one of the 17 designs submitted to the Army last year. I’m not sure why, but leaps in protective technology and design are sure to be incorporated into the next armor sets fielded by the Army and Marines.

So, kudos to the Army for their pick…

-- Christian

Comments

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SUPPLIES/SERVICES QUANTITY UNIT UNIT PRICE AMOUNT
0001 13,200 Each
Small IBA
FFP
Contractor to provide and deliver Small Individual Body Armor (IBA) in
accordance with specifications stated in Attachment #1, dated 10 Jul 08 (25 pages).
Proposed delivery schedule: 1600 IBA each month, beginning 60 days after receipt

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Posted by: wowpowerleveling at April 15, 2008 12:50 AM


think Dragon scale is good but is quite heavy and does not take incerible amout of hits maybe 10 at best. A newer amour from Defend-X is much better it is like hard plates in shape and size but thats were the similaries end. I saw a video on you tube of it taking 63 5.56 nato green tip rounds before even dinting on the back. The armour has two plates with some for of rino lining on them and sandwiched in beteween them is a balsitic foam. any way it looks like the best amour out there right now.

Posted by: Chris at November 4, 2007 07:40 PM


i have no comment

Posted by: nhlapo mp at October 17, 2007 01:06 PM


i dont want to comment actualy,what i want is to ask about the information when i want to be a south african army.so ihope i will get that information so that i will be up to date.

Posted by: nhlapo mp at October 17, 2007 01:00 PM


Ben, isn't Pinnacle using silicon carbide ceramic from that French company saint gobain? Why don't they use American made ceramic? This is not the French army you know. We also have the buy American law. Maybe that is another reason the Army doesn't want it.

Posted by: Big D. at May 31, 2007 03:15 PM


The current Kevlar composite helmet defeats steel fragments and 9mm handgun rounds. It does not stop rifle rounds at rifle velocities. It can stop rifle bullets that have slowed down enough to have the same energy as the 9mm bullet. To stop rifle rounds the helmet would be as heavy as a ceramic body armor plate.

What you saw was a steel bomb fragment simulator testing. They use a rifle cartridge case with a plastic sabot to hold the little steel fragment. It takes a lot of gunpowder to get the velocity required for testing. They were not shooting 5.56 ammunition, just using the brass case to hold the propellent.

Posted by: William at May 31, 2007 09:52 AM


I just had one question. In a program I viewed the other day they were showing construction of the new helmet. They included testing of random helmets; the flaw I saw in the testing was their test was setup to use the 5.56mm round. We are not fighting ourselves and no one wants our M16's to outfit their troops. AK47's may lack in accuracy but, they fire the 7.62 round. We're talking pickup trucks vs an 18 wheeler. They sure need to be evaluated using what we hope to stop.

Posted by: JMMC62 at May 15, 2007 02:02 PM


1)Dragon skin uses a silicon Carbide ceramic plate not boron carbide. Secondly it isn't a plate it is a composite material which incorperates silicon carbide. Bron carbide is harder than silicon carbide however silicon carbide is signifigantly denser than boron carbide. Newtonian penetration equasions mean that it is signifigantly better at stopping high velocity rounds. There are over 200 poly types of silicon carbide (different configurations), pinacle systems uses a patented composite,"a Silicon carbide Matrix" so therefore argueing that well they seem to be made of the same stuff doesn't work.
2)Silicon carbide is easier to manufacture, because it is used in chobam armor. The ease of manufactue means that there are less defects than boron carbide.
3) Boron carbide is brittle and when fractures occur they occur all the way through. Depending how you make it silicon carbide can be made to break outward.
Just because they are made of simialar mateirals doesn't make them the same.
The major issue behind this new armor system is that the pentagon can't get it through their thick skull that a flexable armor system is superior, ie a searies of overlapping plates. The crux of the issue which I discussed with the U.S. Army's representative at the next convention Is whether interlocking plates allow for a the adversary to somehow adjust their angle of attack. given the way Dragon skin does this an enemy would have to be almost underneath the soldeir to hit him. Secondly smaller plates are easier to manufacture and have a lower rate of defect, the effects of defects in the plates are localized, Dragon skin plates are curved which increases their effective thickness. Lastly it has been preposed (speculative) that the spacing betwent he plates disperses the impact and prevents fragmentation.
To avoid any personal attacks yes I was in the army and I think we should be giving our people the best equipment and the pentagon needs to taking a scientific approach to equipment and not using it as a cash cow to buy jobs political influence and money

Posted by: ben at April 28, 2007 08:57 PM


First of all, when it comes down to the $ bottem line, the added cost of the best body armor is zero. Compare the cost of rehab and other life long services many wounded require, against the small investment the BEST body armor would cost, anyone in their right mind would choose OUR men and women over a few bucks.

Posted by: dietz at April 27, 2007 07:50 PM


The Army gives everything to the lowest bidder and quality is usually sacrificed. Why not equip our soldiers with the best available gear technology has to offer. Afterall, they are only getting shot at! Recruiters' numbers are way down so why not save the soldiers we have. The insurgents are wearing the dragon skin so why not us? I wouldn't want to be where the temperatures get to 130, much less have a hot cumbersome vest that doesn't offer much protection.

Posted by: Joyce Hawn at April 26, 2007 01:18 PM


First, ALWAYS remember with any Defense Department Procurement Program, the first thing they do is compare the costs with what they will get in return, usually its the lowest bidder or the company that will give them the most "bang" for thier buck. The M-16/M-4 weapon system is a 40 year old design. There are multiple upgrades on the market which would at relatively low cost replace the Upper reciever and greatly increase reliability, service life, reduce cleaning, etc. Instead of spending the money on small arms weapon programs to develop a new firearm for military service the cost could have been spent retrofitting the weapons in inventory. On the rifle, new upper recievers could be purchased in lot and replaced in the field by pushing out two pins and replacing the upper and pushing the two pins back in. there is NOTHING else that realistically needs to be done other than a quick 5 minute class on disassembly of the updated gas system. the weapon would increase its service life and would save the military more money in the long run because of less cost in repairs, and worn out parts (the way the original system works, its designed to foul itself into inoperability, and high pressure gas and heat is contained in the most delicate part of the operational componants) The new system is similar in operation to the AK weapon that uses an operating rod pushed by gas instead of gas pressure venting into the bolt and leaving deposits as it cycles the weapon. Since the gasses and unburned powder, pressure and heat arent dumped into the bolt, it lasts longer, wears less, and the overall weapon lasts longer, requires less maintinance, which means less part breakage and need for replacement, which would also cost less in replacement part cost, etc. but for some reason they dont want to spend the money. The weapon would be hardier, cleaner, cheaper in long run. the only reason is someone is getting kickbacks from the original contractor and are making more money keeping the expensive system. The government is NOT about saving money, it is getting what ever barely meets the specs to get the job done at the time. the future interests and plans for the future dont plan into military spending very often. The same thing is going on with the vests, whoever owns the interceptor vest system probably was making a better offer on the wayside with "perks" and whatnot than the other companies. I have been working in the government for almost 17 years and its not about the item being sold, its the perks and other stuff, putting the prospective buyer in the nicest hotel suite, paying for the dinners, taking them out for drinks, etc. that is how contracts are won in the SYSTEM, not how good your equipment performs. If it was how good the equipment performs, the US Military would be using H&K; G-36 rifles, using Springfield XD .45acp pistols......, but we dont. The list goes on and on. I dare anyone out there to prove me wrong. Additionally, the government also looks at, if the soldier gets killed and the weapon gets captured or destroyed, we dont want to loose very much money in equipment. It's all just a Cost VS. Loss comparison and how much is the procurer going to be compensated.
If the military issues it, it is NOT the best equipment available, it is the best of the LEAST costly equipment avaiable. The government looks at it like this, ok we need some compact cars, what is the best compact car that we can get for the cheapest cost. Not what's the best compact car and then we will get the money to purchase them. So people should not be suprised about the recalls, problems, costs, lack of provision, etc in relation to the body armor. The military is also worried that if someone purchases a better vest that is more expensive than what the miltary issues and word gets around, the government might be embarrased into having to purchase the more expensive vests. That is another reason for the military services not authorizing people to wear privately purchased vests on top of some soldiers may purchase inadequate vests. (remember this too, the people resposible for purchasing your body armor,or weapon are generally CLUELESS about it and go on the info of the sales, etc people. I was up at Natic Labs a while back and they have new privates testing weapon systems, equipment, etc........like they have a clue.........experienced soldiers and Field Experts should be testing them, not brand new soldiers. If they used soldiers who new about the systems to test the equipment, we wouldnt have some of the junk we do, to include the Interceptor Vests. (by the way the government LOVES high speed sounding names. Interceptor Body Armor, Crusader in artillery, Commanche Fast Attack Helicoptor, OICW Objective individual combat weapon-precurser to the canceled XM-8 rifle, etc.)

Posted by: jimbo at April 25, 2007 01:31 PM


Like many other parents of service men and women, my "beef" with this whole controversy is as follows. The majority of this comments are from Marine or Army spokesmen so this is what the "establishment" (Army, Marines) are saying. Let's start: Defense Industry Daily Posted 11 May 05: On May 2 2005, the USMC issued a Corpswide message recalling 5,277 Interceptor vests from 11 lots that failed government ballistic performance tests - slightly more than half the total vests issued to Marines from questionable lots. The Marines said they were recalling the vests because media coverage about safety vests would sow seeds of doubt in the minds of Marines in active combat (this is where it gets good) Marine spokesman Major Douglas Powell said "this is the best quality equipment we could field... I would wear this vest in combat... the vest is not designed to stop bullets. The vest is designed to stop shrapnel" Let's stop here for a moment and reflect, are insurgents ONLY using "shrapnel" against our troops?, when one views most of the footage on tv; the enemy is firing BULLETS !! at our troops. SO why the hell do we give Marines a vest that doesn't stop bullets? On the same recall subject, this was posted on May 8, 05; a government ballistic expert James MacKiewicz in a memorandum rejecting two lots of vests in July 19, 2004 says that "his office has little confidence in the performance of the body armor". Instead of heeding MacKiewicz' warning, the Marine program manager for the vests Lt. Col. Gabriel Patricio and Point Blank's Chief Operating Officer Sandra Hatfield, signed waivers that allowed the Marines to buy and distribute the vests. WAIT JUST A MOMENT !! "SIGNED WAIVERS??" What did the waivers say, that it was OK to buy defective vests? Someone please produce the waivers !!!. Let ME ask a question using one of my favorite analogies. You go buy a car and an industry expert recommends you NOT buy the car due to manufacturing flaws, the manufacturer recalls the car, yet when you go to the show room a company official says to you "Let's sign a waiver, the car should be OK" WOULD YOU STILL BUY THE CAR for your son, daughter, spouse? To continue with what the Marines themselves say, Brigadier General William Catto head of Marine Corps System Command said that even though there is no evidence to indicate problems with the vest in use the Marines have NO CHOICE but to recall the vests because questions prompted by the media will cause doubts in the minds of our guys using the vests. So, more questions:
1) A Government EXPERT says he has "no confidence" in the vests, yet the Marines and the manufacturer sign a WAIWER and buy them anyway?
2) Since when does the media dictate what our military should or shouldn't do.
3) If we have NO EVIDENCE to indicate problems with the vest WHY RECALL THEM?
4)How are they going to find the vests to be recalled? We need to remember that "lot numbers, serial numbers and other manufacturing data are handwritten on body armor labels, the writing is sometimes smeared, faded or otherwise illegible"
To compound this problem, other 992 vests were sent into the field with what the Marines termed a "perfunctory waiver"................
WHAT'S A "PERFUNCTORY" WAIVER? Perfunctory as defined by Webster's dictionary: "performing in an offhand manner WITHOUT ANY SHOW OF INTEREST OR CONCERN", done CARELESSLY or SUPERFICIALLY"
What? We give equipment to our troops without any show of interest or concern? We treat the purchase of equipment that would protect our Marines from injury or death in a CARELESS or SUPERFICIAL manner?
WAIVER is defined: "to agree to forgo or prefer not to insist on a claim, right or privilege".
WHAT WERE THE MARINES WAIVING? Where is the waiver? We as taxpayers need to see it!!!.
For those of you that may say this is OLD NEWS, you need to remember that this companies are STILL producing these vests since their contracts run until 07 or 08. But. let's fast forward to Nov 03, 2006 (Defense Industry Daily again) on this article, the Marines "proudly" trumpet MTV new body armor.
Despite a whole bunch of "new features" that sound good on paper, there are a few "catches"
1. The vest is 1 lb. heavier than what the Marines been wearing since 2001.
To most of us a pound might be a small amount of weight, when you have to carry it day in and day out every day, it adds up. When the Secretary of the Army says "that the additional weight is a small price to pay..." my answer to him is this. Wear a 30 lb. vest for a week, for 8 hours or longer, then add another pound and continue to wear it for another week for 8 hours or more and then tell us that the weight is insignificant.
Furthermore, the new vest offers THE SAME BALLISTIC PROTECTION AGAINST SHRAPNEL AND 9MM ROUNDS............as the Interceptor" Wait, isn't that the vest that had 5,277 units recalled for "lack of confidence"? To add insult to injury, Capt Jeff Landis another spokesman for the Marines indicates "The MTV is an INTERIM SOLUTION, however. SysCom is looking for a system that will address all comfort and safety issues, including lighter armor that provides more ballistic protection. That's three to five years away" Landis said. Until then, we continue to "field" NEW models of vests that use the SAME PROTECTION as OLD RECALLED models.
Finally, when are those members of the military that SPEAK for the military going to recognize facts? The Interceptor (by their own admission) is NOT DESIGNED TO STOP BULLETS! In the not to distant past GOVERNMENT ballistic experts have CLEARLY expressed NO CONFIDENCE in this vest. Brigadier General William Catto orders a recall but Lt. Col.Gabriel Patricio signs a waiver and buys the vests ANYWAY? Last time I checked, junior officers OBEY orders from officers of higher rank. Since when does a CIVILIAN (Sandra Hatfield) holds more power than a Brigadier General? I ask this because it was her and Lt. Col. Patricio who signed these WAIVERS.
This, ladies and gentlemen is the crux of what's going on. Whether Dragon Skin is superior or not is a matter simply solved. I CHALLENGE GRAL. ELLIS (DHB's CEO) to the following. I'll put on a Dragon Skin vest and allow an expert marksman (ie a sharpshooter from the FBI's HRT) to shoot at the vest 6 times at different points of the torso. Then, YOU GRAL. ELLIS wear one of your Interceptor vests and have the same marksman shoot at you at different points of your vest. If your vest is superior, you should have no problems with this test. What do you say? I am ready, are you?

Posted by: Javier at April 23, 2007 08:46 PM


adapt improvise persevere report defects and improvement measures . the troopers are the alpha test bed for equipment . all avenues of feedback communications should be clear and directed to the right levels of professional people . the leadership should have the power to endorse and implement safety features for our troopers . this defense tech forum is oppotunity for those in the field to express their knowledge and experiences and to offer improvement tips . instead of the press ( bad news bares ) reporting faults - the press syndicates should be researching and reporting on how to make successful results for our people . hopefully the press will be pro instead of con - so our military people will benefit . its easy to disallusion people - how about the press takes a change in mind set and reports how the military can succeed ? how about support instead of tear down bad news ? good news is also news . JIT is business lingo for just in time . our people deserve the best body armor Dubai gold can buy . we deserve the same top notch hospitals the Saudis have for their soldiers . our military deserve the highest standards in body armor . mil specs approved body armor should be just . ideas from the troops allow creativity and expanded analysis .

Posted by: swissantigsuitliquid at April 23, 2007 10:13 AM


Im not quite sure but i believe that the new Army's armor is much lighter than the Dragon Skin armor which is pretty nice because the soldiers already have a enough wieght to worry about with ammunition and a weapon not to mention all the other gear that is mandatory on missions over seas. It's definitley nice to see some lighter body armor being developed and more breathable armor that offers better mobility for the troops. I like what i've heard about the dragon skin but im not a believer in soft armor nor do I like how it's worn. I think they should make sure this is the armor they want of the future because you don't want a huge waste of money when they find something new like the ACU's. With soft skin armor it may offer good protection against small arms fire but it won't protect against other thing like if somethings was to fall and crush you. I know that's what body armor really isn't for, but I just heard about an IBA hard plattting saving a life when a humvee rolled on top of a guy in iraq because it sparred his chest cavity but barley.

Posted by: Sheldon at April 19, 2007 11:00 AM


the military armor deign group should have a light weight full body armor suit,thats also a total battle weapon thats like wearing a tank but better,that protects every body part and is more mobile to wear than the armor we have now.i have tons of designs i bet they couldnt think of.

Posted by: robert at April 15, 2007 01:55 PM


Pinnacle Dragon Skin SOV-2000 level III armor was tested this week for an LE agency, along with stand-alone Armored Mobility Incorporated level III plate armor used as a control and for comparison. Both types of armor were conditioned for 12 hours at 170 degrees F, then moved to ambient air for approximately 90 min prior to being shot. The problems associated with the use of inelastic clay backing material have been well documented; as such, the armor was secured to a life-size curvilinear torso replica made of Perma-Gel. Each armor system was shot a minimum of 20 times with five shots of each ammunition type fired against each armor system--one 90 degree perpendicular shot, two shots at 60 degrees obliquity, and two shots at 30 degrees obliquity, using each of the following loads fired at a distance of 10 feet:

-- 5.56 mm 40 gr LeMas Urban Warfare (using a moly coated Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet) with a 3718 f/s average velocity.
-- 5.56 mm M855 62 gr FMJ with a 3054 f/s average velocity.
-- 7.62x39 mm M43 123 gr steel-core FMJ with a 2307 f/s average velocity.
-- .30-06 M2 150 gr FMJ with a 2736 f/s average velocity.

Odd Job, good observations. There were previous reports of disc migration due to excessive heat causing adhesive failure. Pinnacle stated that they shifted to a different adhesive to solve this issue--that was the reason why we thermally conditioned the armor to 170 deg F for 12 hours to see if we could induce any adhesive failure and disc migration. In this test, no disc shifting was observed. The discs are shaped like a discus, with a slightly thicker center of about 7 mm�s in width tapering to the edges to about a 5 mm width. There are indeed areas of overlap with the discs; one can palpate the discs to a degree and attempt to place shots into the center portion, as shown in your diagram. When experimenting with this, we basically pressed the muzzle to the center of the disc, then back off a couple of inches and fired. The discs seemed to continue to stop the rated rounds. Note that the discs begin to fracture and break apart after being hit. With repeated hits in the same spot, we could eventually break through the discs and induce a vest failure--no surprises there, as this can occur with all armor systems.

http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/tacticalubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=78;t=001286;p=1#000000

Posted by: S Haywood at April 9, 2007 07:52 AM


Just wondering...Does anyone know if carbon nanotubes have been investigated to see if they would make good armor or not?

Posted by: Max in Mn at April 8, 2007 11:44 PM


GI Joe: No AP round was used on the Dragon Skin because they didn't have plate in the vest in first place. That's what the demo was about. Watch it again and you'll see/hear.

Posted by: Shredder at April 6, 2007 08:35 PM


Larry, you are correct I saw the vest that the Army tested and under humidity and heat all the small round plates migrated to the bottom of the vest. The vest looked like a bag of M&M;’s.

GI Joe

Posted by: joe at April 6, 2007 09:03 AM


The reason Dragon Skin was shelved by the Army etc was DOJ tests that showed under conditions of heat and humidity the vest disintegrates and loses all its stopping power.

Dragon skin's patent is owned by a Japanese company and to date they have NOT corrected this very serious problem with Dragon Skin. The reports about this are publicly available and its amazing that no one here mentioned them -- by the way your webserver is WAY too SLOW

Posted by: Larry Marcus at April 6, 2007 08:04 AM


The reason Dragon Skin was shelved by the Army etc was DOJ tests that showed under conditions of heat and humidity the vest disintegrates and loses all its stopping power.

Dragon skin's patent is owned by a Japanese company and to date they have NOT corrected this very serious problem with Dragon Skin. The reports about this are publicly available and its amazing that no one here mentioned them

Posted by: Larry Marcus at April 6, 2007 08:04 AM


The reason Dragon Skin was shelved by the Army etc was DOJ tests that showed under conditions of heat and humidity the vest disintegrates and loses all its stopping power.

Dragon skin's patent is owned by a Japanese company and to date they have NOT corrected this very serious problem with Dragon Skin. The reports about this are publicly available and its amazing that no one here mentioned them

Posted by: Larry Marcus at April 6, 2007 08:02 AM


It looks like everyone out there was impressed with the dragon skin armor after it was featured in the Future weapons show. Here are a couple of thing that bothered me about the demonstrations.

1. Only the 7.62X39 round was fired at it. Any level III vest in the market will stop this round. The treat in Iraq and Afghanistan is the 7.64x54AP which is has a much higher muzzle velocity. The current SAPI plate on the Army’s vest will stop this round but the dragon skin will not that is why they didn’t fire it during the show.
2. Firing 9mm rounds at any class 3 vest is an exercise in futility. A level 2 vest will stop a 9mm.
3. The grenade trick was impressive but the current army vest wasn’t tested against the grenade so we will never know if the dragon skin is better or not is stopping a grenade.
4. One thing that was not covered was the weight of the dragon skin. To have the same amount of protection as the current vest the dragon skin weighs in at 47lbs against 35 for the current vest. This includes neck, deltoid, groin, and side protection.
5. Last but not least with all the money in negative publicity and the lobbying in congress that the dragon skin manufacturer has done why didn’t he jump in to the competition for the next body armor system. These are things that make you go hummmm.

Gi Joe

Posted by: Joe at April 6, 2007 07:53 AM


Dragon Skin is great at PR...
http://www.kontraband.com/show/show.asp?ID=6080&rtn;=index-topten

...and the company had a kind of feud together with Defensereview.com against the procurement people of the Army.

Either the stuff is bad (my guess is it's not good at oblique hits as is often observable with compound armor) or its great and some criminal procurement people produce real shit.

Posted by: Sven Ortmann at April 5, 2007 01:48 PM


To those who were offended by the "yellow-belly" comment, I apologize. It was over-the-top and written in a moment of anger and wrong.

Nonetheless, I still and will forever contend that anyone in Congress who votes to undermine our troops and/or cut off funding in an artificial way before the government can stand on its own (and that goes for the Democrats back in 1975 who did the same thing to Vietnam) isn't worthy of any office higher than a Dogcatcher. I'm not saying Bush and the Republicans are saints or anything, because they've got their own warts, but for Heaven's sake, how can most Democrats in Congress pretend to be patriotic and use the terrorists for political gain as they are doing? Shame on them! I would ride every one of them out of America on a rail tarred and feathered if I could. Maybe they would feel more at home in some nice socialist country like Sweden or Mexico.

Posted by: the "other" Max at April 4, 2007 03:08 PM


christian,

thanks for some new info :)

according to "future weapons" dragon skin IS blast resistant: they put a vest onto a dummy and lay it on the ground on a handgrenade. the data showed a human would have been ok, at least where the vest protects the body (belly is safe, legs are missing), dragon skin was still good to go. they tested a conventionel body armour from the us army which was destroyed by the blast and the shrapnell.

Posted by: old europe at April 4, 2007 11:31 AM


OH, and 'murc' (lol)

Most of the mistakes I mentioned, I was SCREAMING about (particularly the 'shit on your Army Chief of Staff' one) WHEN they were being made, so don't roll your eyes at me, pal.

Most of this stuff isn't rocket science.. all of the military minds that I trust were trying to say the same things... The Pentagon bungled the whole OP. Should have left it to the CIA, like we did in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Army Brat at April 4, 2007 11:09 AM


"other" max -

"gutless yellow-belly democrats", huh? lol

and not the people who got us in this mess in the first place - and bungled and botched every damn thing along the way? But the "gutless Democrats" lol

Oh man, you have to go easy on the propaganda, man... That shit will grow hair on your palms!

Posted by: Army Brat at April 4, 2007 10:56 AM


Will,

Excellent comment. I agree completely.

Posted by: Army Brat at April 4, 2007 10:54 AM


murc -

"less troops deaths per day" ????

really? hmmm. Let me in on those stats, because they stats I have says -even with the "surge", our troops deaths have only increased... and in fact are now up to 80/month. 80 per month

Oh - and might want to re-read my comment again, because my whole point WAS that Iraq has only empowered Iran - and diverted and diminished our ability to deal with them now. Not that we should "ignore them". really, get off the propaganda, man... Not good for the brain. lol

Posted by: Army Brat at April 4, 2007 10:51 AM


Christian -

Thanks. That shed some light on the issue... which I think we were all wondering about

Posted by: Army Brat at April 4, 2007 10:47 AM


Stay the course, even when your arm is in the meat grinder, feed it the other! Such flawed logic is dependent only on the idea that the "sacrifice" is "worth it".

If Bushmaster were serious about actually winning something he woulda finished the job in Afghanistan. OBL is in Pakistan somewhere, and it'd be easy-breezy realpolitik to give Iraq incentives to keep terror out (repeal sanctions). Come on, like Reagan didn't employ realpolitik (give weapons to the enemy Iran, give in to terrorists like Hezbollah like a coward, cut and run from Lebanon without staying the course, etc etc)

But wait, it isn't about terror. Saddam has WMD! People don't play poker by telling everyone they have a busted flush. Saddam had a damn busted flush, but you gotta play like you have something high before the Iranians start surging across the border again (and Saddam knew he couldn't repel them a second time).

Didn't the Rumsfeld spiel about bombs "north, south, west and east" scare the crap out of you? It's a country of 25 million people and you can't even tell where they are? No facility names? At least for Iran we have a name: Natanz, and for NK we have Yongbyon. But no names for WMD sites in Iraq, even though it's been under our sights for a decade.

Care to stick your hands into that meatgrinder again?

Posted by: Charles at April 4, 2007 09:48 AM


With regard to the back and forth between Max and Army Brat and the press - Go back and read coverage of WWII (not military press releases but stories from the media) and read about the coverage. I think you'll find that there was negative coverage and much teeth gnashing by the gov't over that coverage. And in many cases the government simply decided to censor or embargo the stories and lots of times the press rolled over and let it happen. I don't think coverage is all that different now except that most of the press won't just roll-over if the gov't or military tells them not to print a story. IN my experience the majority of the media will not print or hold details for legitimate reasons (OPSEC, personal details, etc.) when asked but they won't simply acquiesce just because the government or military says so. Now I have no dog in this fight, am not in the media (in fact I am in military PA) but the media seems to get a bad rap for reporting negatively. Seems to me that they are reporting what is happening and much of that IS negative. Maybe they don't capture all the good news but that is usually because they can't/won't travel to some areas for security reasons or because they aren't allowed to.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2007 07:45 AM


DT has been nodding on the Pinacle Armor debate.
I'd appreciate an update. ---> apparently the justice department has sanctioned Dragon Skin.
It has also passed three independent tests.

Posted by: Mike at April 4, 2007 07:07 AM


Old Europe,

I know quite a bit about the "Dragon Skin" armor developed by a company in California called Pinnacle. Basically, the owner, Murray Neal, has developed a sort of "fish scale" system of thin ceramic disks that overlap eachother. Seriously, think of wearing a vest of disks constructed out of the same materials as the SAPI plates in current armor surrounding your whole torso. Neal has vividly demonstrated how the vest can take multiple rifle shots, then an entire clip of 9mm from a sub and show no penetration or catastrophic backface deformation. Pretty amazing, right?

Thing is, the Army has been resolutely opposed to the armor because they think Neal is a quack. Really it boils down to a few things: 1., Neal is a salesman and can be somewhat hyperbolic with his claims and 2., the Army really isn't sure how to accurately test a technology like this and get reliable results to certify that the armor can protect troops from the threats they encounter.

Here's my take. I almost bought a set of the armor for my trips to the war zone but didn't for two reasons. 1., I think it's too heavy for the protection it gives. I think it's great to have ceramic all around you, and at this point - where soldiers are wearing side SAPIs, maybe that's what's happening anyway - but I think it's overkill. For someone in a Direct Action job, this armor is perfect. If you're going to be shot at A LOT in the front (like when you're taking down buildings in AQ held territory) the Dragon Skin seems right up your alley. And that brings me to reason 2...I wonder about its resistance to explosive blasts...I just don't think it was built for blasts and I haven't seen any testing done on it for that. I could be wrong, but i feel like the Kevlar-made standard vests do better in that sort of ballistic scenario than a cermic disk layup. But that's totally debatable.

Bottom line - my colleagues and I who've followed this debate wonder why something deemed SO superior is rejected SO fully by the Army - and to some extent the Marines. I do not trust the Army or Marine Corps choices on armor out of hand...my reporting has proven they've been shifty when it comes to armor choices. But there's gotta be SOMETHING going on when Neal doesn't even submit his Dragon Skin for the new armor tests...

Posted by: Christian at April 4, 2007 06:55 AM


little question: i saw the tv-show "future weapons" on the discovery channel where they presented the lightweight body armour called "dragon skin" which seems to be far supirior to anything else on the market. it can stop multiple ak-rounds as well as the blast from laying on a handgrenade. anyone heard of it? i never see people discuss that thing and wonder if u know anything about it...

besides i think a reliable rifle (instead the crappy m-16/m-4) is more important than any body armour...

Posted by: old europe at April 4, 2007 05:09 AM


Max Day,

You have recognized the role American-based media outlets and ostensibly American "journalists" and talking heads play in disseminating enemy propaganda (Any form of communications in support of [national terrorist] objectives designed to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of any group [American voters]in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly). In WWII, they were are our side.

Counter propaganda (Programs of products and actions designed to nullify propaganda or mitigate its effects) is what we need.

Posted by: Cannoneer No. 4 at April 4, 2007 02:12 AM


Army Brat - I've seen you talk a lot about :we shouldn't have done this" "why did we do that", the picture is always clear as glass when you have 20/20 hindsight on your side. *rolls eyes*

And you say our number one target should be Al Qaeda...I agree that they should remain in the crosshairs...but you cant ignore everything that Iran is doing...and the hostage thing is simply them pushing our buttons...seeing how far they can push us.

and the media has more control over this war than any other before it...you think its all politicians...the politicians listen to the media...mainly just the democratic ones...which now have the majority.

The "death toll" is so overhyped its just sickening, the media is trying their damndest to make the average joe to get mad at Bush, and make them think we should cut funding and pull out of Iraq now.
Ya know...at the beginning of the war the media (every hour of every day) was gleefully watching the body count rise...but now all the troops have vests, and all the vehicles are armored...which has resulted in less "troop deaths per day"...so starting around a year ago or so, the media shifted from "daily soldier body count" to "daily body count"...whether is be a soldier, a contractor, or a innocent civilian...they did that so the number could stay high.
cant get much more pathetic then that.

Posted by: murc at April 4, 2007 12:09 AM


The only thing I can say, my friend, is that if we walk away from Iraq before it is ready to stand on its own two feet, the blood of all those who will die as a result of the massacre (just like Vietnam in the 1970's) will be on the hands of the gutless yellow-belly Democrats in Congress.

I don't want our military to stay in Iraq one second longer than necessary, but we are there now, and we have to stay until the job is finished. My own feeling is that if we give them another year or two of relatively good security (which we are starting to do now) and allow them to build up their own military forces and infrastructure, and then if they STILL haven't taken control of their own future, then maybe it will be time to pull out. In the meantime, you can't build an army overnight or even in 3 or 4 years. It takes a long time to do right. Our soldiers are the finest in the world, and they will get it done if Liberals stop carping at them from the sidelines.

Give it a chance to succeed, will you?. I agree that Rumsfeld and company messed it up. The stakes are much too high to play political games with Iraq. I see good trends in Iraq, and we have no choice but to succeed. If the "surge" wasn't working, I would agree: pull out now. But it is, and I don't.

No more posts on this topic please.

Posted by: the "Other" Max at April 3, 2007 11:58 PM


Army Brat-

"and Max, the PRESS didn't botch this war, the Civilian Politicians did. So enough with the propaganda already.


Posted by: Army Brat at April 3, 2007 03:31 PM"

Dude, this isn't propaganda-as soon as a system is developed the press is asking "Why don't the troops have this?!?"-ignoring RFI and the amazing development of systems in the past few years.

The press has become the modern "ticket punchers" an embed here, a report there-and I go to the network! It doesn't matter if I haven't a clue why things work the way they do or if I editorialize, imbellish and soundbite stories until they are distorted.

I don't care about the civilian politicians, but if you think the press hasn't been ignorant to the point of negligence you're a fool. The press can't ask a smart question-if you think they EVER GAVE BUSH A FREE PASS-you're a fool.


"Finally, the troops don't care about this left vs right stuff.. They only want a mission that can actually succeed at.. and basically being a de-facto Iraqi policeman is not their favorite thing, I can assure you. "

Dude, we are killing Osama's Psycho Followers, it's too bad we never got Osama-I didn't like my mission in Iraq, but as an 11B I knew it was important and did it-even though I KNEW THAT THE POLITICAL INFIGHTING WAS ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO TRY AND KILL ME. It still is. Retention is going to go to hell, why fight for a country that doesn't care if it will win?

Posted by: Max at April 3, 2007 10:55 PM


Just a few final points...

If this was WW2, it would be over by now. You can't expect a population to blindly support an endless war, especially one that has been as badly blundered as this - with constantly changing missions/reasons why we're there (WMD, get Saddam, create a Democracy in a society that has never known Democracy in their thousands of years of existence, etc)

Also, the Press bascially gave Bush a free pass for the first 2 years... They were too busy blathering over Michael Jackson to remember there was a war going on. And what did we get? Paul Bremer.

Finally, the troops don't care about this left vs right stuff.. They only want a mission that can actually succeed at.. and basically being a de-facto Iraqi policeman is not their favorite thing, I can assure you.

Until we can get beyond all the political BS and get our foreign policy back to something based in reality, we're going to be chasing our tail around pointing fingers at each other.. instead of killing Osama and his psycho followers.

Posted by: Army Brat at April 3, 2007 07:11 PM


Max, I don't want to argue with you... but I don't really agree.
First off, the 'terrorists' wouldn't even have had a chance to make Iraq 'their next Afghanistan' if we hadn't taken out (secular) Saddam, right? Why couldn't we have kept Afghantistan as the front in the war on terror?
There is a reason why the CIA made Saddam in the first place, ya know.. and a reason why Bush 1 left him there after Gulf War 1. He was our check against Iran - and we see what Iran is doing now.
Secondly, the only reason YOU could even say that the "surge" is "working" is because we telegraphed the whole thing - and Sadr left town and ordered the Mahdi army to stand down. They're just biding their time until the next "phase". Temporarily making Baghdad a little safer doesn't really change anythiing in the long term, I'm afraid. And in the meantime, we have completely ground our military down to pieces.
Now look, do we agree that we have to eventually leave Iraq? Eventually THEY are going to have to fight it out themselves, right? Just like Vietnam in 72, 73, 74, 75... eventually THEY will have to fight it out, so all of this stuff in the meantime is just 'preparation' really. There is no "win" for us. All an insurgency has to do is NOT LOSE, and they win. They are, after all, the population. We are not.

You talk about WW2, but this not WW2 with big armies facing each other... it's assymetrical warfare, where there are no clear winners.. it's all about finding some political solution... of which, I think Bush is utterly incapable. and dude, in case you missed it, EVERY single military leader was totally against the "surge". Every single damn one of them. But Bush, once again, running the show from the oval office, and more worried about politics, totally ignored them all - and did what HE wanted.

So here we find ourselves.. You and I - divided, just like the rest of the country -because the Politicians and the freaking talkin head pundits need to play us against each other to get their paycheck. It's all a game to them. They blame everything on the "left"... or the right.., whatever. As long as you feed that myth, YOU are doing what the terrorists want, man: diving US - and making us fight each other. It didn't have to be this way.. and it still doesn't. But Bush is backed in a corner and the only thing he can do now is keep his base riled up and deluded - to keep them from defecting too..
Until we can once again come together - and put these divisive political propaganda games behind us, we're never going to win anything. That's the plain truth of it.
So stop blaming your fellow Americans and start thinking of ways to re-unite our country - so we can come together and fight the real enemy, which is not the Iraqi's - but al Qaeda...and all those who would ally with them and their terrorist movement.

Posted by: Army Brat at April 3, 2007 06:29 PM


I agree with much of what you say. Rumsfeld's idea of "smaller, faster, lighter" was one of history's most knuckleheaded ideas ever. And Bush (and Cheney -Rumsfeld's buddy) bears a lot of the blame for holding him over when he should have been shooed out as soon as the invasion was over, or sooner. But (to borrow a quote from Rummy), we have to live with the war we have now, not the war we would like to have. It looks like the new Defense Secretary is doing a lot of the right things (it's about time), and the surge is producing good results, so far. But I think you are minimizing the power of the press to shape public opinion. The bloodthirsty Islamists know that they cannot defeat the US military on the battlefield; but instead their goal is to wear down public support for the war in the US, to force a defeat of the US by default. All they have to do is keep raising the body count in Iraq, whether it is soldiers or civilians, and finally the spaghetti-backboned American public will get tired of all the killing and say, "Let's get out of there now", and the Islamists will once again have their "Afghanistan" in Iraq and a secure base to start attacking on new fronts.

The press is playing fiddle for the terrorists, whether by design or by idiocy, I guess it depends on the individual. Every time the terrorists explode a bomb with massive casualties, there is the press talking about it; but good news? Fahgetaboutit. It's hard to ignore the fact that surveys have shown that the vast majority of the MSM press votes Democrat, and holds left-wing viewpoints. Add in the Left's hatred for Traditional America in general and the fact that many of them would like to see America defeated, and you begin to see a sinister aspect of all the negative news coverage. It's easy for me to view the press as willing allies of the terrorists in their drive to destroy America. I think that many in the MSM press think that their actions will not ultimately bring their own enslavement to militant Islam, but I think they are mistaken, if they continue doing what they are doing now.

Posted by: Max Day at April 3, 2007 05:42 PM


I think you're giving the Press too much weight in the matter - but I do understand your point.

However, I think the more salient question would be: If we had these terrible politicians and "leaders" in WW2, then would we have won?

I mean, can you see FDR saying "uh, heh, heh... yeah, well, my Army chief of Staff just bravely testified that we would need on the order of 500,000 troops to secure the peace in Iraq - after the initial conflict - but, ya know... I just think we can do it with 100,000. So, well, I retired his ass. Uh, heh, heh"

I mean, come on man. It's not the press. It's the bonehead civies and polticians that completely ignored all that we learned from Vietnam; specifically the Powell Doctrine- the very same principle that we used in so successfully in Gulf War 1. We had no clearly defined and ACHIEVABLE goal before we went into Iraq - and now we're right back to the old clusterf*@k principle of: Mission Creep. What even defines Victory in Iraq anymore? "a self-governing nation at peace with it's neighbors?" yeah? wow, wasn't that what Iraq was? We had Saddam in a box, man. and once we removed Saddam as the lynch pin, Iran took over. Great. That was worth 3500 of our kids, MY friends, DEAD. and another 25,000 wounded? OH and a TRILLION dollars?

I could go on and on man... for God's sake, they made the Iraq reconstruction group an arm of the GOP - you had to say you voted for Bush and were against abortion just to get on the team - and what a great team that turned out to be, huh?

They were more concerned with politics that what was right - and what needed to be done - and now we're all paying the price.

And.. man, does anyone even remember OSAMA anymore? for Cripes sake - HE is the one we were after! He is the one who wacked us, and he's just running free, laughing all the way... because Blunder Boy Bush and his gang of Losers drug us into Iraq instead of sticking it out and finding and KILLING Bin Laden.

and now our Soldiers are left to be Iraq's freaking POLICEMEN. Wasn't that a great idea.

Posted by: Army Brat at April 3, 2007 04:31 PM


Agreed. Rumsfeld and his buddies botched the war. But just think, if we had had the press back in WW2 that we have today, always finding the most negative news possible to report instead of focusing on winning the war, we likely would have lost that war. We aren't losing Iraq yet, but the alphabet soup press is doing their worst to make it happen. I just heard a report this morning on NPR, and they did their best to shoot down the good news happening with the surge in Baghdad. I hear it all the time. Like I've said before, old Spiro Agnew had the liberal Democrat press pegged exactly right: a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativity. They are the Fifth Column in America who are helping the enemy, just like the Nazi sympathizers in France who worked to help Hitler overthrow it before he invaded.

My question is why are they doing it, and who is the third party behind the Fifth Column?

Posted by: Max Day at April 3, 2007 03:58 PM


and Max, the PRESS didn't botch this war, the Civilian Politicians did. So enough with the propaganda already.

Posted by: Army Brat at April 3, 2007 03:31 PM


Looks like a good design...

Although, I do wonder why Dragon Skin wasn't submitted... I hope it's not just a 'beaurocratic' thing.

My one concern about the Dragon Skin Armour - that I have not heard mentioned anywhere - is it's ability to handle 'off-angle' hits. We've all seen it tested with dead-on, flush shots from everything right up to .308 - but it's design seems to me to POTENTIALLY have a vulnerability if hit from the side. Not sure of course, just 'thinking out loud'. But the 'ballistic dynamics' can not be the same when the bullet hits the side of a disk, as they are when the bullet hits the front.

Again, just thinking out loud. Either way, I hope they can find some way to expedite some of these new weapons/armour to our troops in REAL time.. as they kind of needed all this stuff like, YESTERDAY.


Posted by: Army Brat at April 3, 2007 03:27 PM


So how soon will the press report that troops don't have the best armor because this hasn't hit the field?!?

Posted by: Max at April 3, 2007 11:32 AM


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