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DoD Testing Requirements for Body Armor

Posted on February 9, 2009 - Filed Under Body Armor |

First article testing for Army Contract 0040 was not consistently conducted or scored in accordance with contract terms, conditions, and specifications. Consequently, we believe three of the eight ballistic insert designs that passed first article testing actually failed (ballistic insert designs M3D2S2, MH3, and MP2S2). We had concerns about another first article test (design M4D2), but insufficient test data precluded us from determining the impact of the inconsistent testing and scoring processes. As a result, the Army does not have assurance that all inserts purchased under Contract 0040 provide the level of protection required by the contract. This underscores the need for internal controls to ensure adequate oversight of the first article testing process and proper review and approval of the first article test results.
The contracting officer technical representative made an unauthorized change to Contract 0040 by instructing the testing facility officials to deviate from the Contract Purchase Description without approval from the contracting officer. Because we reviewed only one contract, we can not report on the effect of the unauthorized change on other body armor contracts. The audit team conducting DoD Inspector General Project No. D2008-D000CD- 0256.000, “Research on DoD Body Armor Contracts,” will determine whether unauthorized changes were made to the body armor contracts under their review and the effect of those changes on the first article test results.
DoD does not have standardized ballistic testing criteria for body armor ballistic inserts. Army and USSOCOM officials developed separate ballistic testing criteria for body armor. The criteria differed significantly, even when testing against the same threats. Differences included the number of plates tested (sample size), the shot pattern, the environmental conditions, the type of tests, and the pass/fail guidelines. As a result, DoD does not have assurance that its body armor provides a standard level of protection.


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