For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents.
The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system.
Check out the excuses:
Among the problems contributing to the delays in getting the stronger body armor, the Pentagon is relying on a cottage industry of small armor makers with limited production capacity.
An important material that strengthens the ceramic plates also remains in short supply despite a federal initiative aimed at prodding private industry into meeting the growing demand, military officials said.
"Nobody is happy we haven't been able to do it faster," Maj. Gen. William D. Catto, head of the Marine Corps Systems Command, said Wednesday in the interview.
Hey, really, General? Nobody's happy about it? Well, I guess it's okay then. No need to hold anybody responsible, as long as they're not happy about it.
The estimated cost for updating vests for the troops is $160 million. I'm guessing that will require an emergency appropriation from Congress, as the half trillion budgeted for defense is already spoken for.
Hey, I know what. They can just cancel the DOD sponsored America Supports You Freedom Walk and pay for the armor with that money, huh?