Army Bans Soldier/Family/Private-Purchased Body Armor

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Soldiers will no longer be allowed to wear body armor other than the protective gear issued by the military, Army officials said Thursday, the latest twist in a running battle over the equipment the Pentagon gives its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The army claims that they don't want non-military-approved body armor on their troops, but common sense dictates that if a troop is asking his family to send him body armor, it's likely because he doesn't have any in the first place!

Army officials told The Associated Press that the order was prompted by concerns that soldiers or their families were buying inadequate or untested commercial armor from private companies — including the popular Dragon Skin gear made by California-based Pinnacle Armor.

"We're very concerned that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that doesn't provide the level of protection that the Army requires people to wear. So they're, frankly, wasting their money on substandard stuff," said Col. Thomas Spoehr, director of materiel for the Army.

Murray Neal, chief executive officer of Pinnacle, said he hadn't seen the directive and wants to review it.

"We know of no reason the Army may have to justify this action," Neal said. "On the surface this looks to be another of many attempts by the Army to cover up the billions of dollars spent on ineffective body armor systems which they continue to try quick fixes on to no avail."

The move was a rare one by the Army. Spoehr said he doesn't recall any similar bans on personal armor or devices. The directives are most often issued when there are problems with aircraft or other large equipment.

Veterans groups immediately denounced the decision.

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