Body Armor Still Parent Budget Item

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Body Armor for US Army
Body Armor for US Army

It should have been fairly simple: any parents buying budget body armor to help protect a son or daughter serving in Iraq, needed only to submit a request for reimbursement to the Pentagon, and the check would be in the mail.

That is what Congress demanded of the Defense Department, over a year ago. However, according to a Christian Science Monitor story, soldiers and their parents are still spending “hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars” to purchase this added protective material, yet the Pentagon “still hasn’t figured out” how to process those reimbursement requests.

Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut is pressuring the military brass to obey a bill they – as he put it – “opposed from the outset and ha[ve] so far not implemented.” Dodd seeks to add amendments to the defense appropriations bill currently in process, taking this decision away from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and handing control over to military field commanders.

Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke was quoted as saying the department “is in the final stages of putting a reimbursement program together and it is expected to be operating soon,” but gave no reason for the delay. A replacement program for the officially issued body armor, which was found defective by the military, has been ongoing for the past year, but is still another full year from completion.